Exodus And Gilgamesh Research Paper

1026 Words5 Pages
The book of Exodus and the Epic of Gilgamesh are both pieces of significant literature that give a sneak peek at ancient cultures. The book of Exodus takes place in Egypt and follows the journey of the Israelites, lead by Moses, to the Promise Land, Canaan. On the other hand, the Epic of Gilgamesh, takes place around the ancient city-state of Uruk and follows the quests of a king named Gilgamesh. Moses and Gilgamesh both embody their cultures. Their stories show how their people lived and what they believed in. And although they are alike in that they both embody their culture, similarities and differences exist between the two. In particular, their religious beliefs and how they are perceived as heroes differ but their main quests are quite…show more content…
Gilgamesh practices polytheism, the belief in many gods. For example, the people ask “the sky god Anu, the chief god of the city, to help them” (Tablet 1) tame Gilgamesh. His mother also prays to “the sun-god Shamash, asking [. . .]why he put a restless heart in the breast of her son”(Tablet 3) and asks Shamash to protect her son. The main contact to his gods is through his dreams, not direct communication. In the Epic of Gilgamesh, on one of the twelve tablets, a few of Gilgamesh’s dreams are written. Tablet four states “Shamash sends Gilgamesh oracular dreams during the night.” The tablet talks about the dreams in more depth. One of his dreams ”he wrestles a great bull that splits the ground with his breath”(Tablet 4). This dream “means that Shamash, the bull, will protect Gilgamesh”(Tablet 4). Shamash is protecting Gilgamesh on his journey to kill a demon and cut down the cedar forest, because his mother asks Shamsh to do so. Under Gilgamesh’s religion the gods are made by the people in the image of themselves. In addition, within his religion it appears as if ethics do not exist. For example, one of the tablets talk, about how Gilgamesh demanded the right to have sex with the newly-wed woman in his city. While in Moses’ religion, the Ten Commandments, ten laws that enforce what is right in the way of ethics, states “thou shalt not commit adultery”(Ex.20:14). Moses practices monotheism,the belief in one…show more content…
On one side, Gilgamesh is two-thirds god and one-third human. Along with being part god, he is arrogant. For example, despite everyone telling him not to go on a dangerous quest, he reassures the people he will come back unscathed and he is “confident of success”(Tablet 3). He also exhibits great strength. For example, Gilgamesh kills Humbaba, a demon, killing him “with a great sweep of his sword,[removing] Humbaba's head”(Tablet 5). Gilgamesh also kills the Bull of Heaven and “rips one of its thighs off”(Tablet 6). On the other side Moses is completely human. He also is far from arrogant; he mostly cares about the people he leads. Moses isn’t physically strong but the strength he does have, comes from God. For example, God picks Moses as the man to lead the Israelites to the Promise Land and states “I will be with you” (Ex. 3:12). God also states “the Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still” (Ex.14:14). Amazingly through God, “Moses stretches out his hand over the [Red Sea], and all that night the Lord drives the sea back with a strong east wind and turns it into dry land” (Ex.14:21), allowing the Israelites to escape the Egyptians and the Pharaoh. These differences also showcase the differences in their cultures; one advocates morals and strength through God while the other advocates pride in oneself and his/her

    More about Exodus And Gilgamesh Research Paper

      Open Document