The Epic of Gilgamesh Questions and Answers

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What does The Epic of Gilgamesh say about the relationship between humanity and the divine?

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As is the case with most pantheons in the ancient world, The Epic of Gilgamesh tells the story of a world more or less run by the whims of the gods. The gods repeatedly intervene in Gilgamesh’s life, sometimes in positive ways—such as the creation of Enkidu to be his equal—and sometimes in negative ways, like Ishtar creating the Bull of Heaven out of malice and scorn. Similar to Greek mythology, there is ample intermingling between mortals and gods. Ishtar’s proposal to Gilgamesh aside, Gilgamesh himself is the product of a deified parent. His mother is Ninsun, a minor deity, which accounts for him being two-thirds god and one third man. There is also the case of Tammuz, who is referenced in some versions of the story. Tammuz was born mortal but became Ishtar’s consort, which led him to become the deified god of shepherds. Lastly, while Utnapishtim and his wife are not gods, they are survivors of the great flood who were granted immortality.

Utnapishtim and his wife are...

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