On his blog site “Antiquitopia,” Jared Calaway, a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Religion at Columbia University as well as a Preceptor for Literature of the Humanities at the ever-so-prestigious New York City institution, writes:
“While I am reading on some Ancient
Near Eastern relationships with some of the texts for my dissertation, I have
reread the Epic of Gilgamesh, which, as it turns out, I will probably be
teaching this fall as well--it is nice when teaching and research can overlap!
Anyway, here is the quote of the day (from Epic of Gilgamesh, Tablet X, column
’How, O how could I stay silent, how, O how could I keep quiet?
My friend whom I love has turned to clay:
Enkidu my friend whom I love has turned to clay.
Am I not like him? Must I lie down too, never to rise again?’
”This passage indicates the intense friendship between Gilgamesh and Enkidu. Enkidu has now died, gone down to the underworld ruled by goddess Ereshkigal. The souls, shades, or whatever, of the deceased are usually depicted as birds in Mesopotamian literature, so, Enkidu's shade has flown below, and his body has returned to clay (much like the biblical phrasing of "dust to dust").
“It is a place from where no one
could return--there is no resurrection here as indicated by the last line. In a
way, one could see the whole story of Gilgamesh as a failed search for
immortality. Only one human ever achieved it--Utnapishtim, the Babylonian
counterpart to Noah--who was granted immortality after surviving the Flood, and
even he seems to be the exception that proves the rule. After Enkidu's death,
Gilgamesh laments greatly, forcing his city (Uruk) to mourn Enkidu's death with
him for six days and seven nights. Gilgamesh also erects a statue in honor of
”This is a famous example of intensive friendship in the ancient world. In fact, the story says that Gilgamesh loved Enkidu as he would his wife, that he would dote on him as he would a wife! Hint of homoeroticism? Similar legendary friendships include Achilles and Patroclus from the Iliad, and David and Jonathan from Kings in the Bible. Each of these stories have had speculation of homoerotic possibilities, but speculation it must remain.”
In the academic community, the legend of Gilgamesh is a big famous thing because liberal professors love to point to it as “proof” that the Bible is a man-concocted spin-off lifted from earlier written mythology.
Little do they know that the Epic of Gilgamesh is simply a fabrication of a myth off of the Bible character Nimrod who’s really the source of most of the ancient mythological tales and stories.
As a preacher associated with Shorewood, Dan Gross, explains it, “Gilgamesh was an actual king who reigned about 2800 BC, and then about 200 years after he died, the literature starts being written about him as though he’s a god so there’s all these fantastic legends and so forth . . .
“The Epic of Gilgamesh is considered to be the earliest surviving work in the Western literary canon, so in college courses when they study all of great literature that has influenced Western cultures throughout history . . . In the past when they went back to the earliest work, they usually started with the Bible and oftentimes studied Genesis and other portions of the Bible, but many of the college professors are teaching that the Epic of Gilgamesh was written before the Book of Genesis.
“In the Epic there’s a flood account which many say is very similar to the flood account in Genesis, so they say it seems quite obvious that, since this was written before this, and the two are so similar, that Moses must have copied or borrowed from the Epic of Gilgamesh, and they conclude that the flood account as well as the creation account in Genesis are just mythology.
“So what’s taught in a lot of these courses is that all the peoples in the world at that time had their religions, and their gods and myths and so forth, and the Hebrew people are just like all the other people. They had their own local god they worshipped and their own Hebrew mythology and so on, but in a number of cases the Hebrew people were influenced by writings like the Epic of Gilgamesh.”
Gross continues, “What I’ve found in studying not only this but a lot of other topics and science and history and philosophy and religion, is that a lot of times the college professors are really not experts when they speak about these things.
“They just saw it in a college course however many years ago and their professor, who also was not an expert, said some things about, for example, the Epic of Gilgamesh, and so then 10, 15, 20 years later they’re the professors teaching in a college course and the Epic has become somewhat of a big deal in the college curriculum so they feel required to teach something about it.
“The college professors are often out of date on these things and this is true in a lot of areas. They go to all the effort of getting college degrees, and getting a doctorate, and now they can teach and then they teach the same stuff until they retire; they don’t stay up to date.
“So a lot of the college professors in any field are not really current on the latest research and I also found that in studying the Epic of Gilgamesh. A lot of the college professors are teaching what was commonly believed 30-40 years ago about this, but more and more fragments of the Epic have been found.
“One of the things that has been found is in this old Babylonian version there is no flood account! So there’s this big story about this king Gilgamesh but there’s nothing about any flood, and in these middle versions it’s the same thing.
“It’s not until you come to the standard version that it now has a flood story. This just totally takes all the wind out of their balloon where they’re trying to cast doubt upon the Word of God because it’s impossible that Moses could have been influenced by the Epic when he wrote Genesis. He couldn’t have gotten the flood account from it because there wasn’t any!
“You won’t learn that if you just go on Amazon.com and try to buy a book about the Epic. What you’ll find in almost all cases is the thing about how ‘Moses probably copied from it.’ So you have to bypass the college professors and the popular books and find out who are the real scholars in the world in this area. Who are the people who, for whatever reason, decide to devote their lives to studying the Epic of Gilgamesh?”
Here’s a great passage from Jordan on how mythology really always steals from the Bible:
“You remember the story of Jacob’s ladder in Genesis 28? Jacob, running from his brother Esau, stops in a piece of ground he called Bethel and he took a rock for a pillow and went to sleep and had a vision. Verse 12 says, ‘And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.’
“Do you remember in Genesis 11 when Nimrod built the Tower of Babel what it was to do? The top was to reach to heaven. Now, when you had this ladder that reached to heaven, what happened? The angels descend and ascend. On TV they call that a ‘star gate.’ A portal.
“All of that comes out of mythology. When George Lucas wrote Star Wars, he got most of his scripts and plots out of ancient mythology. But ancient mythology is really a corrupted form of truth that God had revealed to man originally.
“You would be fascinated to know—there’s passage after passage after passage after passage in the Scripture that, if you just think about them in that context, you can see where these things mesh together.
“When you study Scripture you begin to understand that first God, before He started writing it down, revealed Himself in a way that when He laid that revelation in the stars, that revelation became corrupted. That’s the only explanation, folks, for why the same stories founded in the Bible have a presence in every culture of the ancient world.”