I have chosen the two opening paragraphs from the seventh chapter of "The Epic of Gilgamesh" and Genesis 6:8-22 to illustrate the conflicts between obedience and arrogance. One obvious distinction between "The Epic of Gilgamesh" and Genesis can be traced back to the cultures of the authors. The Gilgamesh epic comes from a culture and religion that is polytheistic. The author (and thus the characters in the epic) believed in a pantheon of gods and goddesses, each possessing human attributes and vices. The Hebraic culture that gave us Genesis revolved around the belief in one Almighty God.
The Sumerians likewise believed in every day impact of the gods in life, believing the gods to be vengeful and angry, and the explanation for natural disasters. Ancient Rome also held a belief in the gods as being present in everyday life, with some differences, as we shall see later. In this essay, I will examine how each of these civilization’s religions played roles in their societies. Sumer, unlike the Egyptians, believed that their leaders were of divine descent but did not believe they were actual gods. Sumerians believed the natural world was comprised of several gods: Nanna suen (Moon God), Utu (Sun God) Nin-khursaga(Earth goddess), Enki(God of Waters) and Enlil(God of Air) (Backman 2013, 16).
In Ancient Israel, the primary hero was the highest Deity and other heroes were chosen by that Deity to be His prophets. Similar to Re, the ultimate hero in Ancient Israel was God, also known as “YHWH, a name so sacred that it could neither be spoken nor written” (Sayre 50) because He was above all else. God made a covenant, “an agreement, or contract, t... ... middle of paper ... ... some similarity in their roles in their respective societies. Their lineage, perceived divinity, and heroic duties were common themes between both cultures. On the other hand, contemporary heroes differ from these ancient cultures because they are common people that sacrifice themselves for the protection of society.
The prevalence of these individuals suggests the idea that God loves all people and rewards those who have embraced the ideas and morals of the Christian religion and lived virtuously and without sin. Dante’s Divine Comedy provides enough basis to form the argument that one does not necessarily have to be Christian to enter Heaven, but only needs to embrace the ideals that Christ and baptism represent. Also, through using Emperor Trajan as an example of a virtuous pagan’s successful entrance to Heaven, it is seen that possession of these ideals along with the virtue of humility is what allowed certain pagans into Paradise and excluded others for eternity.
Mythology: used in numerous religions to rationalize the unexplainable. The creation of the universe remains unknown to this day. Greek and Norse mythology concluded their own philosophy of how the earth came into existence. The creation of gods allows people to identify with their religion through shared characteristics. Brave tales of heroes represent the best qualities of man-kind: courage, wisdom, and devotion.
The gods and goddesses live by the rules they make; however, they behave ridiculously and immaturely. Religiousness, or some would say spirituality, is significant to the gods. They can be beneficial, but they expect praise and compliance often. Even though one may be loyal to a god that does not mean they are out of the fire zone; for example, Gilgamesh always offered up sacrifices to the god Shamash frequently and in the end his friend still died. Making the gods angry is reckless because there are consequences.
This acquisition of knowledge leads Enlil to make Utnapishtim immortal and a god. On account those events it is a clear indication that knowledge is preserved only for gods and punishment is reserved for man. Wisdom is the key which keeps the hierarchy off balance, distinct of power and moreover favoring God or the gods over mankind. Upon reading and comparing Gilgamesh and the Old Testament, it should be state that deities prefer to control mankind's wisdom in order to maintain the higher status, continue the ideas of worship, power, sacrifice and honor within the relationship of mankind and divine.
It was he (or she, in some cases) that talked to the gods and bridged their otherworldly bodies to the common folk. The Pharaoh was undeniable, and infallible, because to question the Pharaoh would be to question the gods. Ancient Egypt, for the most part, was a theocracy, ruled by a king and religion. The Pharaoh enacted policies dealing with taxes, where for the most part, included a labor task that required citizens to work on whatever was necessa... ... middle of paper ... ... advances are to satisfy their religious need, to maintain a civilized hierarchy, and to keep up with their evolving visions. With more advancements meant the ability to accomplish more.
The pharaoh ruled the mortal realm, while Ra ruled the greater universe, which made them “a mirror image of each other.” Ma’at was Ra’s closest ally; she was the “personification of the fundamental order of the universe.” Order and justice was revered and even the gods were known to worship Ma’at. Ra and Ma’at were worshipped throughout Egypt. Another important goddess who was worshipped by most Egyptians was Isis, the Queen of the Gods... ... middle of paper ... ... spirit of her dead husband. She named the child Horus and he was destined to defeat his uncle. Isis and Thoth then planned to revive Osiris, so they created the Ritual of Life.
Myths are stories that seek to explain the natural world in supernatural terms and that seek to answer existential questions. They are also didactic stories meaning that it teaches a moral lesson. “Isis and Osiris” is one of Egypt’s most common and most ancient myths. It was an important story during the New Kingdom to the Egyptians because Osiris role as the king of Egypt who is resurrected as the “King of the dead” (Deurer). He was a king that every Egyptian, from the mightiest pharaoh to the lowliest peasant, hoped to join the afterlife.