Works Cited & Consulted
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For example, what is the relationship between the journey, the quest, or the hero. How many movies are structured with the idea of conflict and triumph over odds -- even movies like Star Wars.
For more on the cultural comparison of myth, legend, and then religious veracity, see Leach, E. (1969). Genesis as Myth, Abe Books. For links between the Middle Eastern creation stories and Genesis, see Brodie, T. (2001). Genesis as Dialog. Oxford University Press.
One of the first things a modern reader might ponder is why would the Gods send another man, Enkidu, to tame Gilgamesh's lust over the new brides of Ur? Some scholars, as early as the 1920s saw the relationship between the men as sexual; imaged by a wrestling match, a kiss as they become friends for life (Col.1, 19-20). What is not clear, though, is culturally what types of behavior was considered perfectly acceptable and simply obvious to members of that culture. For more on this, see: (Ackerman).
The Hebrew story of Job and the Mesopotamian Epic of Gilgamesh also have several points of comparison. Both tell of superhuman trials and the realization of death and suffering as part of the human condition. Both heroes seek but do not find assurance of immortality/life after death. Job's mention of Sheol seems similar to the Mesopotamian underworld in Tablet VII of the Epic, both dismal places where the dead wait through eternity. These stories further strengthen the Hebrew-Mesopotamian connection via the pessimism characteristic of the area around the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. The anthropomorphic God who makes the first covenant with Abraham displays some characteristics of the Mesopotamian gods of the area. His ferocity in the request for human sacrifice when he is testing Abraham, as well as the fact that this God is later tied to a specific place (Jacob's peni-EL) seem like instances of the Hebrews being influenced by the nearby Mesopotamian gods, EL and Sabbaoth. The intangible God of Moses might be a rejection of these former conceptions of God, where he was clearly human in form and could be encountered face-to-face. See: Lambert, W. (1996). Babylonian Wisdom. Eisenbrauns, pp. 21-62, 282-302; Maier, J. (1998). Gilgamesh: A Reader, Carducci, pp. 64-5, 316, 351. In a story/text quite comparable to Job, a man name Ipuur questions the Lord of All about why suffering and injustice are rife in Egypt. The god's replies are not very well preserved, but scholars believe that the gist is that humans must accept responsibility for their own actions -- that life is a continuing struggle between order and chaos. See: Parkinson, R. (1997). The Tale of Sinuhe and Other Ancient Egyptian Poems. Oxford University Press, pp. 166-99, and Pinch, G. (2002). Handbook of Egyptian Mythology. ABC-CLIO. In the Islamic Qur'an, Job was a prophet who was renowned for his endurance of pain and suffering; his prophecy is located in: 4:163 and 6:84; his trial and patience in 21:83-84, and 38:41.
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