Judaism In The Epic Of Gilgamesh

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The central geographic location of Jerusalem made it a melting pot primed for foreign cultural influences. Throughout history, the Jewish community was always positioned between powerful nations, which were often waging war against one another. Thus, it is miraculous that Judaism has continued to endure for eons without being assimilated into their surrounding much larger cultures. In fact, it is very likely that Judaism and perhaps monotheism as a whole would have become obsolete if not for the “Babylon’s choice to exile all the Jewish aristocrats and hierarchs to the same location” (PPT Day 8, Slide 2). However, while Judaism has persisted, it was profoundly influenced by the cultures of Judea’s powerful neighbors. These foreign nation cultural …show more content…
Close examination of Genesis 1: 26 and the Enuma Elish, reveals that both of the religious creation narratives used the phrase, “let us make.” Superficially, this phrase could merely represent the coincidence of a common phrase found in both texts. However, in the contexts of both creation stories, both God and Tiamat use this phrase when they were supposedly written in isolation. The crucial point is that this takes place long before the Zoroastrian idea of angels. The other Babylonian creation narrative, “The Epic of Gilgamesh,” parallels the story of Noah’s Ark. These stories both depict a divinely chosen man who built a boat which enabled creation to survive a flood. These similarities provide evidence which refute coincidence and supports an intentional influence which resulted in the two texts resembling one another. Eventually, the Persians conquered the Babylonians and the Persian ruler, Cyrus the Great of Persia allowed the Jews to return to their religious homeland, Jerusalem. As Scheindlin observed, “The Judeans of Babylonia continued to feel connected to the people of Judea by history, family ties, culture, and religion, and they remained organized as a distinctive ethnic and religious group; but they ceased to be truly exiles, for they remained abroad by choice” (SHJP, page 28). Thus, Babylonia not only influenced the Torah and the Jewish perspective on how to communicate with …show more content…
Some of the more obvious Greek influences which were adapted by the Jewish people included: “a reformed education system, gained citizen rights as Hellenes, art, coins, language, etc. some Jews readily accepted this new Greek culture, while other Jews resisted” (PPT Day 10, Slide 4). Once again, a separation in Jewish ideology due to another foreign culture was created. This division was not solely based on a pro-Greek culture and anti-Greek culture mentality. The Seleucids’ strict banishing of Jewish traditions, such as circumcision, and the pillaging of Jerusalem’s second temple lead to a Jewish revolt against the Greeks. Although the revolt presented an opportunity to unify the Jewish people under a single ideology, instead more division occurred. The presence of Samaritans who claimed to be descendants of the lost tribes of the north presented another ideological question: What practice of Judaism was correct since both the Jews of Jerusalem and the Samaritans were obviously influenced by foreign nations? Furthermore, “Judah the Maccabee’s eventual victory and claim to the Israelite monarchy divides the Jewish community, because David belonged to the tribe of Judah whereas Judah the Maccabee descended from the tribe of Levi, it was clear that the Hasmoneans could not make a legitimate claim to the

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