Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘differences in Epic stories

Reply to the epic story of “Gilgamesh, King of Uruk”

You may refer to the link “Gilgamesh, King of Uruk” in note 1.

My comments on the replies are inserted between parenthesis.

There is this comment: “Lovely article, so many myths we subscribe to, all in an effort to provide humankind with some sort of moral guidance”

Other comments go as follow:

One: This sounds like an interesting book but you should really make it clearer that this is a novel, loosely based on the Epic of Gilgamesh, not the ancient story itself. You seem to be basing your historical analysis on the inventions of Mielke, rather than on the original text. (True, it is a story.  Do you know many who would read an epic story if not written in a novel form, describing emotions and feelings?  Homer and the later epic storytellers realized what it takes to get famous and well read.  Many religions are based on epic stories, and the religious celebrations are elaborated theaters, chanting, and dancing. )

Two:  The earliest versions of the epic date to around 4000 years ago – not 7000.  (4000 years before BC or 6000 years
since then? Still, the oldest so far, and by many millennial).

Three: The story about the bird, infant, and gardener is a later myth. There is nothing in the original story about the incident with the soldiers, the conversation with the temple girl, although in the epic there is a temple prostitute, the origin of the Sumerians who are widely credited by historians as being the most advanced ancient civilization, good people going to The Island of the Eternals after death: In Gilgamesh humans cannot escape death and all go to the underworld, or Gilgamesh seeking meditative detachment.

Four: There is no description of building activity in the epic, no mention of mercenaries, and Gilgamesh does not kill his friend Enkidu or “Ankido”.

Fifth:  There are definitely echoes of the Epic of Gilgamesh in Homer, and some stories in the book of Genesis, such as the flood myth and the story of Adam and Eve, seem to be based around earlier versions found in the epic of Gilgamesh.

Six: Dating the Tanakh (or the “Old Testament”) to 200 BCE is unjustified. It is likely to have achieved something very close to its final form during the period of the Babylonian exile or the subsequent Persian period (600 to 300 BCE). Older literary strata within the Tanakh may date back to around the tenth century BCE.  (These comments are part of the religious myths.  Hebrew was a verbal language, a slang of Aramaic, as the various “Arab” verbal languages, particular to large tribes.  Hebrew was transformed into a written language as Jews settled in Egypt, three centuries BC).

Seven:  I would also disagree that all of these stories and myths share the same perspective. For example, the tale of the civilization of primitive Enkidu by Shamhat in the epic of Gilgamesh is turned into a story about sin and loss in Genesis. This makes sense if we remember that Israel was conquered and taken into captivity by the civilization described in the epic. The historical situation of exile may also explain why the flood is sent in Genesis to punish wickedness and “violence”, whereas in the older Mesopotamian myth it is because the noise of their human slaves disturbs the peace of the gods. I would submit that a situation of oppression and forced exile had a major influence on the final shape and message of the Tanakh.  Such a situation and perhaps even the messages of hope and condemnation that arose from it are not irrelevant to the situation of the region today. (Lovely you made the connections of the reasons for differences in Epic stories:  There are particular interests in writing epic stories, and not necessarily regurgitating standard community behaviors of all times)

At the start of the Arabic/Islamic Empire, as the Capital was relocated to Damascus (Syria), the “Arabs” or more accurately the inhabitants of Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine (the current Levant or Near-East States) translated the Greek manuscripts before venturing on writing and disseminating their own culture and civilization.  If it were not for Syria, and the “Arabs”, the Greek culture would have vanished into oblivion.

I am wondering, why the western civilization insist on considering the Greek culture or civilization as the original source for their civilization?  The Greek plagiarized the antecedent cultures and civilizations (Aramaic and Persian), and refused to even translate the manuscripts of former militarily dominated civilizations.  The Greek Empire lasted for over seven centuries, and this Empire failed to translate anything!





March 2023

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