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The Development and Description of Ancienty Communities Essay

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Ancient works of literature often depict community in different ways depending on their surrounding culture and belief systems. The Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh, perhaps begun as an oral tradition, is a work centered on the god-king of Uruk, Gilgamesh. Mortality of humankind quickly becomes the texts central focus as Gilgamesh struggles with the death of his companion Enkidu, the implications of which foreshadow Gilgamesh’s own impending doom. Throughout the epic we learn that society is ever changing, searching, fighting, and dying. Community identity in Gilgamesh is established through the main characters close relationships and friendships both inside and outside of the city-state Uruk. Another early work, the book of Genesis from the Pentateuch, establishes similar community identities based on family and relationship. Society in Genesis is defined as a chosen people strive for acceptance from their God. Community in the book of Genesis is continually dominated by God as it transforms from a familial tribe to the vast nation of Israel. The Epic of Gilgamesh and the book of Genesis are replete with literary elements such as repetition, imagery, and individual stories, which engender strong notions of the community and society in each work.
The Epic of Gilgamesh is a sequence of actions that shape both the individual characters as well as the readers comprehension of Urukian society. Gilgamesh, the epic’s protagonist, is introduced as the tyrant ruler of the Babylonian city-state Uruk. The people of Uruk, their livelihood, community, and society, are all held in the hands of a single man, “the perfect, the terror,” Gilgamesh. As he rampages through his city, raping women at a whim, the gods take notice. The people...


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...ople, typically the weak, who are willing to submit to His will. Thus, Genesis portrays a community dominated by God yet formed by a people who serve based on free will.
God’s first covenant was with Noah, a descendent of Abel’s successor Seth. In Genesis 9, following the flood, God spoke to Noah and his sons saying, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.” The birth of a new community arose out of the sole survivors of a worldwide flood. However, this community was to be led by a promise, and governed by regulations ordained by God himself. The seven laws governing society were given to Noah shortly after the floodwaters abated. They established a system for justice, specified how man should act with other men, and how man should act with God. The chosen people of God were expected to remain a family, a community respectful of His authority.



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