## The Epic of Gilgamesh

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I feel i'm pretty good at keeping core doctrine of my chosen religion out of my forum topics and i think i will continue with that in this forum topic.

Has anyone read the Epic of Gilgamesh (in english)? It is one of my favorite works of fiction. Among the topics it deals with are eternal damnation and death, hubris and human frailties, human like gods, ancient prostitution and temple cults, and a flood story and many other topics.

My favorite character in the story is Humbaba from the cedar forest because some say he/she is a representation of "Yahweh". This is very easily just a conspiracy theory. This relates to the conspiracy theory that Gilgamesh is an altered story about the Biblical, Nimrod (rebel). Some people in the Bible were renamed to mark what the Bible is trying to convey about their character such as Nabal (which means fool). I think that is the first book of Samuel.

Basically at the end of the story Gilgamesh and most of his peers are doomed to eternal damnation.

Considering this is the oldest known (known) recorded work of fiction, i find the fact that the story relating to eternal damnation as the chief theme to be fascinating.

I feel i successfully avoided stating anything that is intrinsically christian (as opposed to just being simply religious).

I can't post the whole story because it would take a minimum of 10 pages even if i summarized it. I'm sure a concise version is on wikipedia or you could watch a quick youtube on it.
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Has anyone read the Epic of Gilgamesh (in english)?
Yes. I read it in Cuneiform. Just kidding, I'm not that old.

My original interest in the epic was because it seemed to backup the Genesis account of a worldwide flood. Later, my attention was drawn to the parallels with other biblical stories, such as the Garden of Eden, and some elements of the Adam & Eve story.

Unfortunately for my Christian faith, they didn't actually confirm the truth of the Bible account . Instead, they merely indicate that the writers of Genesis (circa 1500BC) were familiar with the ancient myths of Mesopotamia (Gilgamesh, circa 2100BC), and perhaps mixed them in with some Canaanite myths. Even the polytheistic poet Homer (Greece, 1200BC) seems to have been influenced by those classic stories of antiquity. So, it's not likely that Genesis was written by Moses, with divine inspiration, as some claim. Perhaps Gilgamesh was inspired by the sun god Shamash.

Regarding descriptions of eternal damnation for sinners, I was not familiar with that aspect. Apparently, those stories about the various fates of the dead, were added later in an appendix. From the except in the link below, it seems that their fates were somehow dependent upon how many sons a man had. Not exactly a biblical doctrine. So, I wouldn't conclude from Gilgamesh that parallel ideas in any way verify the inspiration of the Bible. There are many common themes in the myths of many cultures. We can learn from them, but shouldn't take them literally. :smile:

A Theodicy of Hell : https://books.google.com/books?id=EPqPBAAAQBAJ&pg=PA31&lpg=PA31&dq=gilgamesh+eternal+damnation&source=bl&ots=TwNEglQWd-&sig=ACfU3U3gmeTzbv5fghXJvCeQC8h-RpnI7Q&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjemM30g63oAhUpxYUKHe20D4cQ6AEwBnoECAcQAQ#v=onepage&q=gilgamesh%20eternal%20damnation&f=false

Myths To Live By (Joseph Campbell) : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myths_to_Live_By
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Unfortunately for my Christian faith, they didn't actually confirm the truth of the Bible account . Instead, they merely indicate that the writers of Genesis (circa 1500BC) were familiar with the ancient myths of Mesopotamia (Gilgamesh, circa 2100BC), and perhaps mixed them in with some Canaanite myths. Even the polytheistic poet Homer (Greece, 1200BC) seems to have been influenced by those classic stories of antiquity. So, it's not likely that Genesis was written by Moses, with divine inspiration, as some claim. Perhaps Gilgamesh was inspired by the sun god Shamash.

Regarding descriptions of eternal damnation for sinners, I was not familiar with that aspect. Apparently, those stories about the various fates of the dead, were added later in an appendix. From the except in the link below, it seems that their fates were somehow dependent upon how many sons a man had. Not exactly a biblical doctrine. So, I wouldn't conclude from Gilgamesh that parallel ideas in any way verify the inspiration of the Bible. There are many common themes in the myths of many cultures. We can learn from them, but shouldn't take them literally. :smile:

I read my brother's copy. Basically most of men ended up in a dark cave hanging from the ceiling like bats. The cave is cold. This was the fate most of man ended up in. Eternal suffering fire or no fire. The intensity i'm not sure.

Actually reading the story will reveal this Gilgamesh's main concern through out the whole story. I don't remember this being a later addition to the story and considering this theme is all throughout the story, i don't see how it could be a later addition. As far as who ends up in this eternal damnation, the copy i read said essentially everybody, poor, rich, and essentially everybody. I don't remember anything about how many sons you had. The version i read gave a very long explanation of the source of the stone fragments and explained in detail each section of the story in addition to the story itself.

As far as Genesis being written by Moses, i would agree that if there is no god or god similar (or exactly) to the god of the Bible, yes Moses probably didn't write genesis. If there is no god like or the same as the god from the Bible, then the Moses from history was so loosely based on the Moses from the Bible, we could approach the threshold of almost or essentially saying that "Moses" didn't exist. King Arthur existed but he was nothing like the King Arthur from the novel and his name was significantly different from King Arthur.

As far as the flood story coming from prior myths rather than some "godly" historical record, that option is on the table, but if there is a god, we should be open to that these stories were in there correct versions in a particular holy book. Whether that correct Holy book, is written by the greeks, peruvians, norse, asian indians, chinese, saxons, egyptians, or some other group. All of the previous mentioned groups had stories of titan wars, and vengeful dieties bringing a great flood, and some other common stories.
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That article you posted says that no one is damned in "the epic...". Well no one is damned in the sense that just about all of man (not the Bible but "the epic ...." ) goes to the same place, so no one is damned in that sense. But the place every one goes to as described is very depressing and eternally sad (the bat cave where it is forever cold). That book you posted doesn't do "The epic of gilgamesh" justice. There is a reason Gilgamesh spends most of the story trying to avoid "death". Gilgamesh was "successful", he is the last person who should fear eternal sleep or in other words eternal unconsceeeeenscness.(spelling).
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That article you posted says that no one is damned in "the epic...". Well no one is damned in the sense that just about all of man (not the Bible but "the epic ...." ) goes to the same place, so no one is damned in that sense.
According to the Wiki article linked below, the Hebrew word "Sheol" may have been derived from the Akkadian (Mesopotamian) word "shuwala". Both cultures originally assumed (perhaps with a few exceptions) that everyone goes to the same place after death : the grave, the underworld, a cold cavern. It was an egalitarian after-death --- no sense of damnation.

The Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) had little to say about post-life punishment or continued existence after death. But after the Jews returned from Babylonian captivity, they had adopted some Zoroastrian (Mesopotamian) concepts, such as a struggle between good and evil gods, and two afterlife destinations : Paradise (Garden of Eden) for the righteous, and Gehenna (burning torment) for the unrighteous. This duality-within-monotheism was later incorporated into Christianity. :lol:

Sheol : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheol

Psalm 88:2-10 : May my prayer come before you; turn your ear to my cry. I am overwhelmed with troubles and my life draws near to death. I am counted among those who go down to the pit; I am like one without strength. I am set apart with the dead, like the slain who lie in the grave, whom you remember no more, who are cut off from your care. You have put me in the lowest pit, in the darkest depths.
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the grave, the underworld, a cold cavern. It was an egalitarian after-death --- no sense of damnation.

Its a matter of details. Just because two concepts have similiarites doesn't mean they are not significantly different. The afterlife described in the epic of gilgamesh was place of darkness, coldness, (coldness) and misery. eternal suffering is damnation (regardless of how much the intensity of that suffering).

I understand that both ancient jews and many other cultures believe in some sort of afterlife, but that doesn't make all those places the same simply because they were located in the same location.
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I understand that both ancient jews and many other cultures believe in some sort of afterlife, but that doesn't make all those places the same simply because they were located in the same location.
Of course, each culture has its own local myths of death and afterlife. Some, such as Egyptians, originally viewed death as final, except for kings & pharaohs, who were semi-divine, and went to heaven. Other, mostly Eastern, cultures looked to reincarnation as a form of delayed justice; not in hell, but in a new body & life. Unfortunately, due to post-death amnesia, the bad guys won't know why their new life as a rat, or a woman, sucks. So, the punishment is retributive, not rehabilitative.

The Chinese have a long tradition of gory punishments in their version of Hell : Diyu. According to Wiki, the "ten courts of hell" sound like it might have inspired Dante's Inferno. But such formal retribution in the afterlife is usually associated with complex king-led societies with official laws & prescribed punishments. Simpler primitive or egalitarian cultures (e.g. wandering Hebrew tribes) usually didn't imagine any sort of ultimate justice. So death was final --- no hell, no afterlife, no reincarnation, no damnation. :death:

Diyu : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diyu

Hebrew Afterlife : Most Jewish ideas about the afterlife developed in post-biblical times. . . . The Bible itself has very few references to life after death. Sheol, the bowels of the earth, is portrayed as the place of the dead, but in most instances Sheol seems to be more a metaphor for oblivion than an actual place where the dead “live” and retain consciousness.
https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/life-after-death/

Retributive Justice : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retributive_justice
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I understand that both ancient jews and many other cultures believe in some sort of afterlife, but that doesn't make all those places the same simply because they were located in the same location.
— christian2017
Of course, each culture has its own local myths of death and afterlife. Some, such as Egyptians, originally viewed death as final, except for kings & pharaohs, who were semi-divine, and went to heaven. Other, mostly Eastern, cultures looked to reincarnation as a form of delayed justice; not in hell, but in a new body & life. Unfortunately, due to post-death amnesia, the bad guys won't know why their new life as a rat, or a woman, sucks. So, the punishment is retributive, not rehabilitative.

The Chinese have a long tradition of gory punishments in their version of Hell : Diyu. According to Wiki, the "ten courts of hell" sound like it might have inspired Dante's Inferno. But such formal retribution in the afterlife is usually associated with complex king-led societies with official laws & prescribed punishments. Simpler primitive or egalitarian cultures (e.g. wandering Hebrew tribes) usually didn't imagine any sort of ultimate justice. So death was final --- no hell, no afterlife, no reincarnation, no damnation. :death:

Diyu : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diyu

Hebrew Afterlife : Most Jewish ideas about the afterlife developed in post-biblical times. . . . The Bible itself has very few references to life after death. Sheol, the bowels of the earth, is portrayed as the place of the dead, but in most instances Sheol seems to be more a metaphor for oblivion than an actual place where the dead “live” and retain consciousness.
https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/life-after-death/

Retributive Justice : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retributive_justice

thats fair.
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Considering this is the oldest known (known) recorded work of fiction, i find the fact that the story relating to eternal damnation as the chief theme to be fascinating.
What do you find fascinating about the trope of eternal damnation in the story?
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trope: a figurative or metaphorical use of a word or expression.

you could say imaginary or fiction but how is the stories mention of hell and/or damnation a trope?

"Considering this is the oldest known (known) recorded work of fiction, i find the fact that the story relating to eternal damnation as the chief theme to be fascinating." taken from the OP

Its the oldest and its about damnation, thats whats interesting.
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I thought Gilgamesh was about the quest for immortality. Is it a tragedy? If the video I saw of the epic is accurate, the hero, Gilgamesh, is in search of a way to defeat death and what the reader must glean from the hero's adventures is the value of a mortal life, value to be found in pain and loss as much as in joy and triumph. Does Gilgamesh die in the end? Probably he does and that's what the tragedy of life is all about - no matter which way you turn in your bed, sleep will eventually come.
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I read the translation and the description of each stone tablet it was written on. The afterlife is described in the translation i read. Its not just eternal "no feeling", its eternal hang in a cold cave upside down like a bat. I don't know what wikipedia says.
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The main purpose of the Gilgamesh myth is to illustrate the weakness of man in the face of destiny. This is particularly presented by the vision of the underworld as presented by Enkidu from one of his dreams. Enkidu describes the underworld as a very dark place where the people are clad in feathers and feed on clay (Cunningham and Reich 7).

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By the time this dream appears in the story, the reader is already aware Enkidu is bound to die, but one reads on hoping that Enkidu would somehow find a loophole that would take him away from going to the underworld as predicted by the dream.

The epic of Gilgamesh does not make death less frightening in comparison to the overwhelming nature of life. The afterlife as described by Enkidu is just an unsettling existence that no human being would like to live. In actual sense, it makes death even scarier especially drawing from the words of Enkidu while on his demise bed. Enkidu tries to find a scapegoat by blaming the lady Shamhat for his own shortcomings in his pre-death premonition.
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The main purpose of the Gilgamesh myth is to illustrate the weakness of man in the face of destiny. This is particularly presented by the vision of the underworld as presented by Enkidu from one of his dreams. Enkidu describes the underworld as a very dark place where the people are clad in feathers and feed on clay (Cunningham and Reich 7).

We will write a custom Essay on Death and the afterlife in the Epic of Gilgamesh specifically for you
for only $16.05$11/page

By the time this dream appears in the story, the reader is already aware Enkidu is bound to die, but one reads on hoping that Enkidu would somehow find a loophole that would take him away from going to the underworld as predicted by the dream.

The epic of Gilgamesh does not make death less frightening in comparison to the overwhelming nature of life. The afterlife as described by Enkidu is just an unsettling existence that no human being would like to live. In actual sense, it makes death even scarier especially drawing from the words of Enkidu while on his demise bed. Enkidu tries to find a scapegoat by blaming the lady Shamhat for his own shortcomings in his pre-death premonition.
• 1.1k

The main purpose of the Gilgamesh myth is to illustrate the weakness of man in the face of destiny. This is particularly presented by the vision of the underworld as presented by Enkidu from one of his dreams. Enkidu describes the underworld as a very dark place where the people are clad in feathers and feed on clay (Cunningham and Reich 7).

We will write a custom Essay on Death and the afterlife in the Epic of Gilgamesh specifically for you
for only $16.05$11/page

By the time this dream appears in the story, the reader is already aware Enkidu is bound to die, but one reads on hoping that Enkidu would somehow find a loophole that would take him away from going to the underworld as predicted by the dream.

The epic of Gilgamesh does not make death less frightening in comparison to the overwhelming nature of life. The afterlife as described by Enkidu is just an unsettling existence that no human being would like to live. In actual sense, it makes death even scarier especially drawing from the words of Enkidu while on his demise bed. Enkidu tries to find a scapegoat by blaming the lady Shamhat for his own shortcomings in his pre-death premonition.
• 5.2k
The main purpose of the Gilgamesh myth is to illustrate the weakness of man in the face of destiny. This is particularly presented by the vision of the underworld as presented by Enkidu from one of his dreams. Enkidu describes the underworld as a very dark place where the people are clad in feathers and feed on clay (Cunningham and Reich 7).

We will write a custom Essay on Death and the afterlife in the Epic of Gilgamesh specifically for you
for only $16.05$11/page

By the time this dream appears in the story, the reader is already aware Enkidu is bound to die, but one reads on hoping that Enkidu would somehow find a loophole that would take him away from going to the underworld as predicted by the dream.

The epic of Gilgamesh does not make death less frightening in comparison to the overwhelming nature of life. The afterlife as described by Enkidu is just an unsettling existence that no human being would like to live. In actual sense, it makes death even scarier especially drawing from the words of Enkidu while on his demise bed. Enkidu tries to find a scapegoat by blaming the lady Shamhat for his own shortcomings in his pre-death premonition.

I see. Two things that make sense in my life - destiny & death.
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• 243
trope: a figurative or metaphorical use of a word or expression.
Or as I intended:

trope: a significant or recurrent theme; a motif

you could say imaginary or fiction but how is the stories mention of hell and/or damnation a trope?
I did not mean to implicate the distinction between truth and fiction. I was asking you what you found fascinating about the theme or motif of eternal damnation in the work.

"Considering this is the oldest known (known) recorded work of fiction, i find the fact that the story relating to eternal damnation as the chief theme to be fascinating." taken from the OP

Its the oldest and its about damnation, thats whats interesting.
Is the concept of eternity also interesting to you? Or is damnation equally interesting to you when it is transitory?

What is it about damnation that interests you? Are you interested in moral concepts like punishment?

damnation: the act or state of being damned

damn (v.): to condemn to a punishment or fate

from the Latin damnum: damage, hurt, harm; loss, injury; a fine, penalty

I agree it's interesting to encounter the oldest texts that preserve ancient accounts of such themes.

What does that old epic say about damnation? What sort of conception of damnation does the text suggest? How does the text's treatment of the concept of damnation or punishment speak to your own interest in these subjects?
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I feel confident that when the stories were first told they were not fiction, but when everyone who remembered the events died, the stories became fiction.

I believe Eden was in the area of Iran where geologists believe they have found the 4 rivers. The geologists also see evidence of a flood and a long draught. So we are told a goddess became angry when the river (water god) ate her plants (flood), and she cursed the river to death(drought). The river almost died (dried up) and a fox convinced the goddess to let the river live. Then the river asked the goddess to provide help so it could stay in banks and she made a man and woman of mud and breathed life into them. I don't believe we are made of mud, but this is a logical explanation of our purpose, to keep the river in its banks.

"The Sumerian word for rib is ti, and the rib-healing goddess came to be called Ninti, which translates both as "the lady of the rib" and "the lady who makes live". This play on words does not work in Hebrew, but the rib did enter the Garden of Eden story in the form of Eve, the mother of the human race- "the lady who makes live". Interestingly the words Eden and Adam also appear in cuneiform. Eden means "uncultivated plain"; Adam, "settlement on the plain"."Time-Life Lost Civilizations Sumer: Cities of Eden".

That is telling us people who carried this story of a flood and a draught returned to the valley when things returned to normal and they returned to cultivation the plane and this time they attempted to control the flow of the river.
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to clarify the original statement, the combination of it being the oldest work of fiction/mythology and that it pertains to eternal damnation. Have you read the epic?
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brb
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— christian2017

I feel confident that when the stories were first told they were not fiction, but when everyone who remembered the events died, the stories became fiction.

I believe Eden was in the area of Iran where geologists believe they have found the 4 rivers. The geologists also see evidence of a flood and a long draught. So we are told a goddess became angry when the river (water god) ate her plants (flood), and she cursed the river to death(drought). The river almost died (dried up) and a fox convinced the goddess to let the river live. Then the river asked the goddess to provide help so it could stay in banks and she made a man and woman of mud and breathed life into them. I don't believe we are made of mud, but this is a logical explanation of our purpose, to keep the river in its banks.

"The Sumerian word for rib is ti, and the rib-healing goddess came to be called Ninti, which translates both as "the lady of the rib" and "the lady who makes live". This play on words does not work in Hebrew, but the rib did enter the Garden of Eden story in the form of Eve, the mother of the human race- "the lady who makes live". Interestingly the words Eden and Adam also appear in cuneiform. Eden means "uncultivated plain"; Adam, "settlement on the plain"."Time-Life Lost Civilizations Sumer: Cities of Eden".

That is telling us people who carried this story of a flood and a draught returned to the valley when things returned to normal and they returned to cultivation the plane and this time they attempted to control the flow of the river.

Yeah i've heard some of this but not all of it. Thank you for adding that.
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Is it permissible within the community standards here to repeat boilerplate responses like these? With advertisements in them?

I hope not.

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Where did i put an advertisement? What did i advertise? I don't think i've ever advertised anything ever on this site? Certainly not intentionally.
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oh it was that quote from that article and it had the thing lodged in it. You need hobbies buddy. Don't be so sensitive. You worry too much about nothing.
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If it was to protect certain members of my family, i would call the police. But i'm not sure i've ever tattled on someone (especially over such a small mistake) on an online forum. My deepest apologies farmer.
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