How does Gilgamesh compare to the heroes of the Bible? Are they like Gilgamesh?

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samson98 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are similarities and differences between Gilgamesh and biblical characters like David and Jesus. Like Gilgamesh, David risked his life in difficult fights. David slew the giant Goliath (1 Samuel 17); Gilgamesh, of course, slew Humbaba and the Bull of Heaven. Additionally, both David and Gilgamesh suffered the death of an extremely close friend; David lost his friend Jonathan--the son of Saul, David's enemy--while Gilgamesh lost Enkidu.

Another biblical character many students compare/contrast Gilgamesh to is Jesus. They note that both Gilgamesh and Jesus possess human and divine characteristics. However, Gilgamesh's nature is divided; he is 2/3 god and 1/3 man. Jesus, on the other hand, is fully God and fully man (according to orthodox interpretations of the Bible). Moreover, both the Epic of Gilgamesh and the Bible describe kings as shepherds; Gilgamesh is the king of Uruk, and Christ is ruler of the Kingdom of God. One striking difference between Jesus and Gilgamesh is that while Gilgamesh tries and fails to bring his people eternal life, Christ succeeds by conquering death and rising from the dead.