Parallels Between The Epic Of Gilgamesh, By Benjamin R. Foster, And The Genesis Stories

1094 Words Jun 19th, 2015 5 Pages
The parallels between The Epic of Gilgamesh, translated by Benjamin R. Foster, and the Genesis stories, from The Hebrew Bible, are uncanny. The theme addressed in these stories revolves around divine intervention and the human condition of knowledge and mortality. Humans are the only known species capable of abstract thinking, moral judgment, and meta-cognition, and while continuous belief compares this ability with the divine, the human life span is limited, whereas the supernatural life span is not. Both myths question the significance of why humans possess wisdom only to experience temporary life on earth. Theodore Hiebert raises this same dichotomy in β€œThe Eden Narrative: A Literary and Religio-historical Study of Genesis 2-3” by saying, β€œ . . . wisdom and immortality are a stable pair in the ancient Near East, and that they are used both in Mesopotamian myths and in Genesis to explain the human condition and to mark the line between human and divine . . . ” (2). The literal and metaphoric resemblances imply that the antecedent Gilgamesh story influenced the stories in Genesis. Initially, the most conspicuous influence readers discover with these two stories is the flood. Whether named Utanapishtim or Noah, whom endured this globally encompassing event, the multiplicity of the same story throughout recorded time is noteworthy. The flood materialized from supernatural frustration of mankind (seen in each story), and forewarned of the flood both men were instructed to…

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