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The Epic Of Gilgamesh Vs. The Bible

886 words - 4 pages

Since the beginning of time the human race has had the tradition of recording historical tales, or stories. Some of the stories that were first told were tales of heroic men, journeying their land in search of some moral prize. These stories are known as epics. Merriamwebster.com states, “Epics are long poems, typically derived from ancient oral tradition, narrating the deeds and adventures of heroic or legendary figures or the history of a nation” (www.merriam-webster.com). This gives an insight on how the early humans lived and how they thought.

In comparison to these epics, are the stories told in the Old Testament of the Bible. As with the epics, these legends offer a spiritual idea of the beginning of time and the accounts of early man. Evaluating the stories and characters of the first epic, “The Epic of Gilgamesh,” with the first chapter of the Bible, Genesis, many similarities and differences are recognized. “To explain these parallels scholars have suggested that either one narrative depended on the other or both of them depended on a common source” (Njozi 303).

The only thing early man looked upon was, the knowledge of a divine being or, in other words, a god. In that time humans were extremely religious, believing that their very lives were in the hands of their god. This is true for both the people of biblical times and those of the epic era. In Gilgamesh, many gods are mentioned and worshiped, such as Aruru and Shamash. These gods can give birth to mortals, and can communicate with them, usually through dreams. An example of this is when the God Era warns Utnapishtim through a dream about the flood.
He repeated their plans to the reed fence: Reed fence, reed fence, wall, wall!
Listen, O reed fence! Pay attention, O wall! O Man of Shuruppak, son of Ubar-Tutu, Wreck house, build boat Forsake possessions and seek life, Belongings reject and life save! (143)
In the book of Genesis, there is mention of only one God, who “created the heavens and the earth” (Bible). This god can also communicate with mortals, either through dream or direct conversation. In both Gilgamesh and the Bible, the mortals worshiped the god(s). But in Gilgamesh it seems as though the gods were easily persuaded by their servants. In Genesis, God stays a fairly strong, static being that, although firm, is fair and good to his people.

Both the flood in Gilgamesh and the Bible are examined and suggest that they are historically related. Njozi states, “The nature of the relationship has yet to be established. Either the Babylonian version depends...

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