A Comparison of the Divine in Gilgamesh, the Old Testament of the Bible, and Metamorphoses

1132 Words 5 Pages
The Divine in Gilgamesh, The Old Testament, and Metamorphoses

Along with different languages, customs and traditions, ancient Hebrews, Middle-easterners and Romans had very different beliefs about the divine. For example, Hebrews are monotheistic, while Middle-easterners and Greco-Romans of early time periods believe in many gods. Writings from the ancient time period sketch these differences, as well as the many similarities between religious beliefs. The Old Testament is an excellent reference depicting Hebrew beliefs, while Gilgamesh outlines many Middle-eastern beliefs, and The Metamorphoses shows readers many ancient Greco-Roman beliefs about the divine.

The Hebrew God as depicted in the Old Testament is
…show more content…
Adam and Eve's disobedience and resistance forced a punishment of physical and moral disorder that still exists today (47). They were kicked out of the Garden of Eden (54). Instead of living infinitely, they were forced to live a short and sorrowful life relieved only by death (47). Jonah's punishment for disobeying God was less brutal. He was swallowed by a fish and lived in his belly for three days and nights (96). Though God punishes sinners, He has infinite justice (47).

Unlike the Hebrew beliefs of the divine, ancient middle-eastern religion did not focus on one specific god. The epic Gilgamesh describes many gods, such as Shamash, the sun god whom endowed Gilgamesh with extreme beauty (18), Enlil, the god of wind and storm (18), and Anu, the god of Uruk (19). In the epic, these divine creators endowed Gilgamesh with "extraordinary strength, courage and beauty" (17). Along with these great characteristics, he was "more god than man" (17), "Two thirds they made him god and one third man" (19). The fact that Gilgamesh is part god and part human differs from the Hebrew beliefs as well; because Hebrews believe that no one can be part god.

Though there are many differences between the Hebrew God and middle-eastern beliefs of the divine, Gilgamesh also depicts some similarities. Sumerian gods respond to prayers from the Uruk citizens that Gilgamesh is an unjust ruler by creating Enkidu, the

More about A Comparison of the Divine in Gilgamesh, the Old Testament of the Bible, and Metamorphoses

Open Document