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Creationist Cults

Gilgamesh Epic

An important Middle Eastern literary work, written in cuneiform on 12 clay tablets about 2000 bc . This heroic poem is named for its hero, Gilgamesh (fl. about 2700-2650 bc ), a tyrannical Babylonian king who ruled the city of Uruk, known in the Bible as Erech (now Warka, Iraq). According to the myth, the gods respond to the prayers of the oppressed citizenry of Uruk and send a wild, brutish man, Enkidu, to challenge Gilgamesh to a wrestling match. When the contest ends with neither as a clear victor, Gilgamesh and Enkidu become close friends. They journey together and share many adventures. Accounts of their heroism and bravery in slaying dangerous beasts spread to many lands.

When the two travelers return to Uruk, Ishtar (guardian deity of the city) proclaims her love for the heroic Gilgamesh. When he rejects her, she sends the Bull of Heaven to destroy the city. Gilgamesh and Enkidu kill the bull, and, as punishment for his participation, the gods doom Enkidu to die. After Enkidu's death, Gilgamesh seeks out the wise man Utnapishtim to learn the secret of immortality. The sage recounts to Gilgamesh a story of a great flood (the details of which are remarkably similar to later biblical accounts of "Noah's" flood). After much hesitation, Utnapishtim reveals to Gilgamesh that a plant bestowing eternal youth is in the sea. Gilgamesh dives into the water and finds the plant but later loses it to a serpent and, disconsolate, returns to Uruk to end his days. This saga was widely studied and translated in ancient times. Biblical writers appear to have modeled their account of the friendship of David and Jonathan on the relationship between Gilgamesh and Enkidu. Numerous Greek writers also incorporated elements found in the Gilgamesh epic into their dragon-slaying epics and into stories concerning the close bond between Achilles and Patroclus.

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