I am wondering what other ancient writings are extant that could be contemporary to our Torah. Not only that, but do they resemble it in terms of various interactions between people such as Cain and Abel, Noah and his sons, Abraham and Sarah, Abraham and the angels, Lot and the angels, Lot and his daughters, etc.? In other words are there other narratives in these ancient books such as are in our Torah, as well as genealogies? The traditional view, of course, is that God dictated the whole Torah to Moses, who scribed it for Him. If this is true, God made some of it very simple and some very esoteric.

I can’t tell you about all ancient writings, but if we stick to the ancient Near East, there are certain obvious resemblances between the Hebrew Bible and the writings that have survived from other peoples. From Ugarit, in what is today northern, coastal Syria, comes a collection of ancient texts whose vocabulary, accounts of religious practices, and even ways of conceiving of the divine bear some resemblance to things in our Bible. Some of their narratives about gods and goddesses thus resemble biblical narratives; in form, however, they are more akin to biblical poems such as the Song of Deborah (Judges 5). From Mesopotamia comes an account of a great flood rather similar to the story of Noah; we also have historical records of kings and the royal courts in the ancient Near East, some of them clearly invented, others closer to actual history writing. (There are, of course, many other items connecting Mesopotamian writings to the Bible, but you asked specifically about narratives.) So I suppose the short answer to your question is: yes. Some scholars used to say that while Israel’s neighbors were interested in myths, Israel was drawn to human history—but this really doesn’t hold up under sustained scrutiny. And you’re certainly right in saying that some of the Bible is fairly straightforward, while some of it clearly isn’t.