Gilgamesh and biblical literature

Influences in art and literature The prelude to the epic of Gilgamesh primarily revolves around the introduction of Gilgamesh, the King of Uruk and the subsequent events that shape up his journey. Born as two-thirds a god and one-third a man, Gilgamesh had beyond formidable strength and an intimidating yet appealing physique.

Gilgamesh and biblical literature

It originated as a series of Sumerian legends and poems in cuneiform script dating back to the early 3rd or late 2nd millenium BCE, which were later gathered into a longer Akkadian poem the most complete version existing today, preserved on 12 clay tablets, dates from the 12th to 10th Century BCE.

It also includes the story of a great flood very similar to the story of Noah in "The Bible" and elsewhere.

Synopsis Back to Top of Page The story begins with the introduction of Gilgameshking of Uruk, two-thirds god and one-third human, blessed by the gods with strength, courage and beauty, and the strongest and greatest king who ever existed. The great city of Uruk is also praised for its glory and its strong brick walls.

Gilgamesh and biblical literature

However, the people of Uruk are not happy, and complain that Gilgamesh is too harsh and abuses his power by sleeping with their women.

The goddess of creation, Aruru, creates a mighty wild-man named Enkidua rival in strength to Gilgamesh. He lives a natural life with the wild animals, but he soon starts bothering the shepherds and trappers of the area and jostles the animals at the watering hole.

At the request of a trapper, Gilgamesh sends a temple prostitute, Shamhat, to seduce and tame Enkidu and, after six days and seven nights with the harlot, he is no longer just a wild beast who lives with animals. He soon learns the ways of men and is shunned by the animals he used to live with, and the harlot eventually persuades him to come to live in the city.

Meanwhile, Gilgamesh has some strange dreams, which his mother, Ninsun, explains as an indication that a mighty friend will come to him. The newly-civilized Enkidu leaves the wilderness with his consort for the city of Uruk, where he learns to help the local shepherds and trappers in their work.

Enkidu and Gilgamesh fight each other and, after a mighty battle, Gilgamesh defeats Enkidubut breaks off from the fight and spares his life. He also begins to heed what Enkidu has said, and to learn the virtues of mercy and humility, along with courage and nobility.

Both Gilgamesh and Enkidu are transformed for the better through their new-found friendship and have many lessons to learn from each other.

Gilgamesh and biblical literature

In time, they begin to see each other as brothers and become inseparable. Years later, bored with the peaceful life in Uruk and wanting to make an everlasting name for himself, Gilgamesh proposes to travel to the sacred Cedar Forest to cut some great trees and kill the guardian, the demon Humbaba.

Enkidu objects to the plan as the Cedar Forest is the sacred realm of the gods and not meant for mortals, but neither Enkidu not the council of elders of Uruk can convince Gilgamesh not to go.

The Biblical flood follows closely to the Gilgamesh flood, but the two are not identical. Comparing and contrasting the two stories of the flood, the authors of the Bible mimic much of the mythical flood, but also change and innovate certain pieces of the plot. The Epic of Gilgamesh (/ ˈ ɡ ɪ l ɡ ə m ɛ ʃ /) is an epic poem from ancient Mesopotamia that is often regarded as the earliest surviving great work of literature. The literary history of Gilgamesh begins with five Sumerian poems about Bilgamesh (Sumerian for "Gilgamesh"), king of Uruk, dating from the Third Dynasty of Ur (c. BC).Language: Sumerian. The Epic of Gilgamesh, a literary product of Mesopotamia, contains many of the same themes and motifs as the Hebrew Bible. Of these, the best-known is probably the Epic’s flood story, which reads a lot like the biblical tale of Noah’s ark (Gen ). But the Epic also includes a character whose.

She also gives Enkidu some advice and adopts him as her second son. On the way to the Cedar Forest, Gilgamesh has some bad dreams, but each time Enkidu manages to explain away the dreams as good omens, and he encourages and urges Gilgamesh on when he becomes afraid again on reaching the forest.

Finally, the two heroes confront Humbaba, the demon-ogre guardian of the sacred trees, and a great battle commences. Gilgamesh offers the monster his own sisters as wives and concubines in order to distract it into giving away his seven layers of armour, and finally, with the help of the winds sent by the sun-god Shamash, Humbaba is defeated.

Humbaba then curses them both, and Gilgamesh finally puts an end to it.

Epic of Gilgamesh - Wikipedia

The two heroes cut down a huge cedar tree, and Enkidu uses it to make a massive door for the gods, which he floats down the river. Some time later, the goddess Ishtar goddess of love and war, and daughter of the sky-god Anu makes sexual advances to Gilgameshbut he rejects her, because of her mistreatment of her previous lovers.

The city of Uruk celebrates the great victory, but Enkidu has a bad dream in which the gods decide to punish Enkidu himself for the killing of the Bull of Heaven and Humbaba.

He curses the door he made for the gods, and he curses the trapper he met, the harlot he loved and the very day that he became human. However, he regrets his curses when Shamash speaks from heaven and points out how unfair Enkidu is being.

He also points out that Gilgamesh will become but a shadow of his former self if Enkidu were to die. Nevertheless, the curse takes hold and day after day Enkidu becomes more and more ill. As he dies, he describes his descent into the horrific dark Underworld the "House of Dust"where the dead wear feathers like birds and eat clay.

He orders the people of Uruk, from the lowest farmer to the highest temple priests, to also mourn Enkiduand orders statues of Enkidu to be built.The Biblical flood follows closely to the Gilgamesh flood, but the two are not identical. Comparing and contrasting the two stories of the flood, the authors of the Bible mimic much of the mythical flood, but also change and innovate certain pieces of the plot.

Gilgamesh's first appearance in literature is probably in the Sumerian poem Gilgamesh, Enkidu, and the Netherworld. [18] [10] [19] The narrative begins with a huluppu tree—perhaps, according to the Sumerologist Samuel Noah Kramer, a willow, [20] growing on the banks of the river Euphrates.

What is the Epic of Gilgamesh?What relation does it have with the biblical Flood? The Epic of Gilgamesh is an ancient poem about a king of Uruk who was one-third god. Parts of the original Sumerian story may have been written as early as BC, although Gilgamesh is said to have reigned around BC.

The fact is that the Bible’s flood account is of an entirely different character than the Gilgamesh account. The Bible’s account is not a wild-eyed fable, whereas Gilgamesh is. Gilgamesh is an account of pagan gods who are weak and man-like and competitive.

Gilgamesh and the biblical Flood—part 2 by Murray R. Adamthwaite In this sequel to the previous article on the Gilgamesh Epic, other Mesopotamian Flood literature is now examined: Atrahasis, Zuisudra, the one enshrined in Berossus, plus one small but important fragment from Nippur which has gone largely unnoticed for a century.

Gilgamesh's first appearance in literature is probably in the Sumerian poem Gilgamesh, Enkidu, and the Netherworld. Hermann Gunkel dismissed most of Jensen's purported parallels between Gilgamesh and biblical figures as mere baseless sensationalism.

Epic of Gilgamesh - Other Ancient Civilizations - Classical Literature