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Gilgamesh and Genesis Research Papers

The writers at Paper Masters can custom write research on comparing and contrasting the story of Gilgamesh and the Book of Genesis from the Bible. Whatever aspect of Gilgamesh or the Bible that you need explicated, our writers will help you understand the literary and thematic elements of these two great works of literature.

Research papers on Gilgamesh and Genesis point out that the adventures of Gilgamesh and Enkidu, while they do not appear to have direct analogs in Genesis, nonetheless replicate certain components of the Genesis creation myth

  • The gods make Enkidu out of clay to be a companion for Gilgamesh. 
  • The latter, semi-divine, preexists the creation of his human brother. 
  • Enkidu is eventually slain by the gods for his rebellion. 

Gilgamesh and GenesisHis returning to the clay from which he was made has parallel’s with Genesis--“for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”  That will also be the ultimate fate of Gilgamesh.  His human component will eventually seal his fate.  At the end of the epic, Gilgamesh comes full circle.  He has sought out the sage Utnapishtim, king of Shurrupak.  “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.” Utnapishtim, immortalized by the gods for saving mankind after the flood [see below], has been found in the garden of Dilmun (Eden, after the Fall?). This, of course, has striking parallels to the loss of Eden through the workings of a serpent and is an excellent topic for a Gilgamesh and Genesis literature paper.

The Sumerians were a complex and advanced civilization when other human societies struggled in primitive barbarism.  Their greatest contribution to history may be The Epic of Gilgamesh, proof that human beings developed refinement in the arts at the same time they developed writing itself.  From Gilgamesh, the worldview and religion of the Sumerians can be learned, how they saw themselves in relation to their gods, animals and other people.

The opening of the Gilgamesh poem not only describes the greatness of the hero, but also provides a glimpse as to the importance of religion in Sumeria.  Gilgamesh was the great king of Uruk, and his numerous construction projects in the epic are for the gods.  Gilgamesh built “walls, a great rampart and the temple of blessed Eanna”.  According to Hallo and Simpson, Eanna, “the house of heaven” was the ancient portion of Uruk and a sanctuary to their gods.  The walls and ramparts were for the military defense of Uruk, but the Eanna probably stood as the center of the city (not a mighty palace for the king, but sanctuary for the gods).

The second thing we learn about Gilgamesh is that the gods created an equal partner for his heroic deeds.  Enkidu “ate grass in the hills with the gazelle and lurked with wild beasts at the water-holes”.  His “taming” comes through sexual intercourse with a harlot, and he becomes friends with Gilgamesh.  In this beast-man, the Sumerians reveal a symbiotic affinity for nature.

However, Gilgamesh’s boast that he went out into the world and met none who could withstand his arms is evidence that Uruk was a mighty military power.  However, it also shows that the Sumerians saw themselves as superior to other nations of the world.  One of those people must have been the Egyptians.  The two civilizations probably knew of each other.  Like the Sumerians, the Egyptians had an extensive theology and a strong monarchy.  In Egypt “the power of the king…may have developed gradually”.  If so, then the Sumerians, who already had a mighty king, would have looked down on this weaker neighbor.  In Sumeria, the kings were the sons of the gods; in Egypt, from a Sumerian point of view, the kings pretended to be gods.  In Sumeria, the crown prince was the son of the king and the priestess of one of the major gods.

In the Book of Genesis, the story of the Tower of Babel tells of an arrogant people who thought they could reach the levels of the gods. The origin of this story probably came from Sumeria; their mighty cities and powerful kings must have seemed to weaker nations that the Sumerians saw themselves equal with gods. The grand civilization that the Sumerians created would have placed Uruk at the pinnacle of world power. The Egyptians learned the lessons of Sumeria well in creating an even more complex society.


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