Epic Of Gilgamesh And The Bibl

1368 words - 5 pages

When children ask for privileges, adults try to impress upon them the responsibilities that come along with these privileges and the associated freedoms. This is a difficult lesson to learn, and is often learned through trial and error. This relationship of privileges and responsibility is much like that of wisdom and suffering; although privileges and wisdom are great tools, they carry with them many responsibilities, and the possibility of suffering. Such relations are extremely clear in both The Epic of Gilgamesh and The Bible. This paper will discuss the general theme of these books as well as related philosophical questions to help the reader acquire an understanding of the relationship between wisdom and suffering In The Bible, God creates Adam and Eve to till and watch over the beautiful land that he has created. In return for their obedience, he grants them everlasting life, fruit, and companionship. In The Epic of Gilgamesh, the goddess Aruru creates a wild creature named Enkidu to rival the great king Gilgamesh. In both cases, the people are created innocent, with no knowledge of complicated questions and issues, such as sexuality, that plague humanity. Their loss of innocence comes in tandem with a gain in knowledge.Although the fall of Adam and Eve is different from that of Enkidu, there are distinct similarities between the two. The problem in The Bible begins with God's lack of explanation of his prohibitions and laws. (The Bible, Genesis 2:16-17) Adam and Eve do not obey God because they choose to or because they understand his will, but rather because doing so provides rewards, as previously mentioned. When the snakes tempts them to eat of the forbidden Tree of Knowledge (The Bible, Genesis 3:1-6), they cannot resist temptation because they do not understand the logic behind the prohibition.The loss of Enkidu's innocence, on the other hand, is not due to any disobedience, but simply the fact that a harlot seduces him. (The Epic of Gilgamesh, 64-65) Enkidu does not realize that his alliance with the harlot will change his position in the world of the beasts, and is shocked when they reject him. (The Epic of Gilgamesh, 65) The beasts know that Enkidu has become a man before he fully realizes and accepts it himself.What does a loss of innocence entail for Enkidu, Adam, and Eve? The aspects of their lives that change are remarkably similar in both cases. Adam and Eve become aware of good, evil, and their sexuality, as shown by conflicting passages before and after the fall. Before the fall, they stated, "And the man and his wife were both naked, and they were not ashamed." (The Bible, Genesis 2:25) After the fall, "the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked." (The Bible, Genesis 3:7) They also learn shame and fear, as detailed by the following passage: And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord . . .....

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