> The Flood, as told in the Epic, is part of an
> allegorical tale attributed to Gilgamesh. This
> flood is symbolic. That is not to say that a great
> flood, or floods, have not ravaged the Near East
> or other parts of the Earth in distant times.
There are parts of the EoG that are allegorical to further the narrative, but I do not believe as a whole it is to be considered as such nor is the Flood myth. As well, the flood myth may have become "symbolic" to later writers, or not, but regardless I do not believe the tale originated as such and is rooted in actual events.
If you compare the flood myth of the EoG with the Epic of Atrahasis, written around the same time, parts are nearly verbatim copies of the other though the EoA has no Gilgamesh or accompanying narrative which the same is true of the even older Eridu Genesis. To me this says the Flood Myth was incorporated into the EoG and was never originally a part of it so whatever allegory these writers imposed upon it, if any, is not what was originally intended.
> The Epic is about a quest for eternal life and an
> understanding of the human condition. The Bible
> contains a similar motif.
The Bible contains a quest for eternal life? What is the "understanding of the human condition" the Torah is trying to convey in the relevant Book of Genesis? The EoG was written as a single narrative, a story, while the Bible is a collection of separate stories edited and arranged to form a narrative. Personally I think much of what is considered allegory or metaphor in the Bible is more often than not imposed upon it and not actually what they were trying to say.
> The interesting question is, "What is the source
> of the Epic?"
Regardless of the flood myth, that is a good question. There are many interesting things it has to say that makes one wonder what other actual interesting things may be historical in nature. I found the part where Gilgamesh and Enkidu are wandering through the cedar forest of Lebanon and note it is the home of the gods, though they are Sumerians from southern Mesopotamia, and they also come across the "dwellings of the Annunaki". Baalbek anyone?
> The city of Gilgamesh was founded by the "seven
> wise ones."
Uruk, which is interesting.
> These Seven Sages appear in other
> accounts of distant times. Who were they? Why are
> they "wise"? What is "wise"?
Interesting. Please elaborate your thought as to the meaning of "wise".
> How far back does this story of gods and men go?
According to the flood myths, before the flood and for a time after when kingship was lowered to man. Another thing I do not think is allegorical.