Parallels between Gilgamesh and Genesis Essay

I. Introduction:

Today. we are frequently bombarded with assorted innovations and finds coming from different parts of the universe. But it is with great astonishment when we look upon the promotion made by an ancient civilisation that has come to be acknowledged as the cradle of civilisation. Mesopotamia. at a clip when most of its adjacent people-group was prosecuting a mobile life. Not merely have they revolutionized human society through its innovation of the wheel. composing excessively. must hold originated in this topographic point as shown by the Epic of Gilgamesh.

Ancient as it is. being one of the world’s earliest-known heroic poem poesy ( “Epic” ) taken from Sumeria and which the Babylonians developed into a long verse form. it is doubtless beautiful ; and antediluvian as it may be. high regard should be given to it as one of the literary chef-d’oeuvres of world.

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Genesis on the other manus. is the first book of the Bible. Genesis is the Grecian word for “beginning” or “origin” . and is a Grecian interlingual rendition derived from the Hebrew b’reshith significance “in the beginning” . the first word in the Old Testament.

II. Meaning and Importance

A. Epic of Gilgamesh

At the beginning. as one reads through the verse form. it would readily expose the glory of the cardinal figure. the historical warlike male monarch of Uruk —Gilgamesh. All throughout the verse form. the reader is led through his many feats and accomplishments of Gilgamesh that gives the over-all feeling of a stability of battle-like stance. This I would non happen surprising since this people’s land was ever subjected to crisis such as the menace of invasion or the implosion therapy of the rivers. As to the narrative. it relates much on how he has overcome every opposition. obstructions. and about everything he had set out to make. Such accomplishments were made possible and justifiable as the narrative describes the super-human nature of the lead figure — being two-thirds Godhead and one-third homo.

How Gilgamesh emerges as a vanquisher comprises the first portion of the narrative. It would look that the writer wants to set up the fact that all the hopes and aspirations of its people are embodied in Gilgamesh. The first portion shows and proves that whatever adult male could draw a bead on to accomplish or be has been done by the superhuman Gilgamesh. The 2nd portion directs the narrative towards the king’s command for immortality through his pursuit for the immortalized Uta-Napishtim.

Structurally talking. these two parts ( which would about look as unrelated ) divides the narrative. Both would look to take the reader into two different waies. driving down two different points. The decease of Enkidu serves as the turning point that separates the two parts. What serves for continuity for the narrative are the built-in traits of Gilgamesh’s character — his bravery and stubbornness to be undaunted by obstructions.

What is besides a alone trait of the history of Gilgamesh is that the reading of the narrative is through a written text of an unwritten story-telling. which the storyteller in the narrative besides revealed as a canned unwritten narrative of ancient times. Just as Gilgamesh was described as half-human and half-divine. so is the overall nature of the narrative. The storyteller convinces its hearers and readers likewise of the existent being of the male monarch. However. its manner of convincing is dry since it proves the genuineness of its narrative through the being of the really walls of the metropolis of Uruk which we. contemporary readers would happen nowhere but in the walls of our imaginativeness ( “Assro-Babylonian Mythology: Gilgamesh” ) .

The heroic poem serves non merely as a literary effort for early civilisation ; it besides bears the individuality of the early colonists of the Tigris-Euphrates country. However. its relevancy supersedes its cultural individuality. This ancient narrative connects its people with us and all of humanity as they ponder the same inquiry which afflicts all work forces — decease. the fate of every adult male. It besides attempts to reply whether any mortal adult male could perchance get away it and besides the enigma of what lies in front after decease.

In happening the reply and decision to these inquiries lies the significance of the two parts of the narrative. As mentioned. the first portion is given to turn out the semi god-like abilities of Gilgamesh. If he so. who bears such qualities failed in his command for immortality. as shown on the 2nd portion. how much more for ordinary persons? The narrative convinces its listeners or readers of the inevitableness of decease and must vacate oneself of this fact. The most that adult male can make is to be fearless in confronting it. the manner Gilgamesh triumphantly faced decease together with Enkidu in the great Cedar Forest. However. its chief decision is: that adult male is powerless to get away it.

B. Genesis

Genesis originated as portion of a larger literary unit that was merely subsequently broken up into books. That larger unit is the spiritual history of antediluvian Israel. normally called the Pentateuch. In it were traced Israel’s origins from its main formative experiences down to its colony in the land of Palestine. Besides incorporated into the narrative were jurisprudence codifications formulated at assorted times in Israelite history. The full composite came to be ascribed to Israel’s laminitis and first lawmaker. Moses. This place has been modified as a consequence of modern Biblical scholarship. Genesis is a logical division of the original text of the Pentateuch.

It represents a double debut to the narrative of Israel’s formation as a “covenant people”—God’s chosen people. The patriarchal history comprises rhythms of narratives associating to three major figures of the pre Israelite yesteryear. viz. Abraham. Isaac and Jacob. together with auxiliary traditions about other ascendants who were of secondary involvement. After an introductory family tree there appears foremost the narrative of Abraham and Isaac. Included is a fragmental history. perchance of Moabite beginning. of Lot. the ascendant of the Moabites and Ammonites. who were related to the Israelites. There is besides the history of Ishmael. who is regarded as the ascendant of the Arab peoples. The 2nd major rhythm is that of Isaac and Jacob.

This rhythm besides contains auxiliary stuff. some of the Edomites beginnings. associating to Esau. ascendant of the Edomites. Finally. there is the extended and typical narrative of Joseph. the major invasions into which are a variant history of Judah in chapter 38 and the “blessings” of the Israelite folks in Chapter 49. Chapter 1 Tells of God’s act of creative activity. Chapters 2-11 record human history from Adam to Abraham and depict the Garden of Eden. the Tower of Babel. and the Flood.

The linking nexus between all these parts of Genesis every bit good as between it and the other books of the Pentateuch. which it introduces. is a construct of godly intercession in man’s history. This construct has been given the name Heitsgeschichte. “salvation history” . Israel believed itself to be the merchandise of a history in which it had encountered a God who had made it His Covenant people. The great events of this history are traced—the Exodus from Egypt ; the experiences of the Red Sea. of Sinai. and of Kadesh. where Israel waited outside the Promised Land ; and the business of the Promised Land. All these uncover a God of clemency and kindness. though besides of justness and requital. a God who had chosen Israel out of simple. gratuitous love. This historical position was imposed in Genesis both on the patriarchal legends that had been derived from Palestine and on the assorted Mesopotamian- Palestinian myths and sagas from which the book’s first chapters are constructed.

Therefore in Genesis. Creation is seen no longer as mere myth. that is. as a spiritual strong belief visualized in narrative. It is alternatively. the first in a series of God’s salvaging Acts of the Apostless. by which he had brought forth an ordered existence out of aboriginal formlessness. Man was placed in that universe as God’s image and similitude. to be its swayer. But work forces improved unequal to the undertaking. His unruliness set him in resistance to God and introduced upset into the universe. After this followed slaying and the hate of adult male for adult male. for illustration. Cain and Abel. Lamech and the Cainites. even cosmic upset. which the narrative of the boies of God and the girls of work forces efforts to. explicate. The Flood is understood in Genesis as both godly requital and clemency: it brought an terminal to an evil coevals. but a faithful leftover was preserved in the individual of the righteous Noah and those who were saved for his interest.

III. Gilgamesh and the Flood in the Bible

The heroic poem makes reference of the Flood in mention with one of the oldest books of the Bible. Similarities of the two histories were the inundation. the mammoth boat. and the fact that animate beings and populating animals were made to come on board along with the one human household who entered the boat. There are major disparities though as to the relation of the event. In the history of the Bible. the coming of the Great Flood in Noah’s yearss was non held as a secret before work forces. whereas in the narrative of Gilgamesh. the Gods have intended to hold it maintain as a secret. Noah was even commanded by God to prophesy and warn the people of its coming ( as a mark of His clemency ) while he builds the Ark. The people nevertheless. did non listen and even taunted Noah. Such reactions may hold been likely since many Bible bookmans believe that prior to this incident. rain had non yet fallen on the Earth. In the Bible history. the door of the Ark was preternaturally closed and opened by God entirely. Noah had no power or authorization over it. In Gilgamesh’s. the waterproofing of the door bears no religious significance.

Noah’s God and the Gods in Gilgamesh were shown to hold profoundly regretted the sending of the inundation that has wiped out humanity expect for those inside the great boat. One of the Gods in the heroic poem was displeased at first with the subsisters. while the God of Noah readily blessed them.

IV. Decision

The work unfolds before us the ideas and purposes of the Sumerians and the remainder of the Mesopotamians. Like the remainder of most societies. they give tremendous significance to fame and wealth. Fearlessness is held as a great virtuousness. born out possibly of their changeless life in fright of antagonising their Gods who they believed caused them all their problems.

Although Mesopotamians have achieved much. they did keep a pessimistic position. Life. it seemed for them. was a changeless battle a battle against the forces of nature and the impulses of their Gods. Towards the terminal of the narrative. even the enterprises of work forces would come to nil as he comes to the terminal of his life. “Eat. imbibe and be merry for tomorrow we shall die” would hold been the steering rule of Mesopotamians. Possibly so. since one historiographer had noted that over 40 per centum of their grain production was used to do beer. Although we discuss this heroic poem as an ancient narrative. the quest for the replies about life and decease still uninterrupted to stalk several people even to this present-day.

Above all. nevertheless. Biblical critics of the twentieth century are willing to mensurate Genesis by historical criterions other than those of the nineteenth century. By those criterions Genesis was condemned or defended in the clip of the “Babel and Bible” contention. That difference developed when the Sumerian and Akkadian literatures of ancient Mesopotamia were discovered and deciphered in the nineteenth century. The decision was easy drawn that the message of Genesis was of no more relevancy to the history of faiths than the myths of Babylonia. whatever might be the other values of the book. But the twentieth century thought of history is more attuned to that which inspired the writers of Genesis. This position recognizes that entering specific facts and darings is non the. existent object of history authorship. Rather. the purpose is to detect and portray worlds that challenge human experience and demand an accounting. By the standards of historicism Moses can barely said to hold existed ; yet Israel itself is the historical informant of Moses.

Genesis and the Epic of Gilgamesh are two great books that could animate people when they read it. The facts and information’s are slightly intertwined in some ways. These two books should be treasured and cherished particularly by those who want to cognize the history of our sires. their autumn and how they were saved by a mighty Creator.


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