The supernatural characteristics within The Epic of Gilgamesh and The Hebrew Bible represent contrasting definitions. In The Epic of Gilgamesh, it portrays a supernatural type of world where every character that it lists holds a certain role in the events that occur so therefore these characters are gods and goddesses in their own respects. As for The Hebrew Bible, characters are mortal and the reason of events occur due to the single force that is the creator of all things in the living world, God.
Comparable characteristics to acknowledge with these two texts is the human emotion shown by main characters that therefore detract from supernatural characteristics. Between these two works of literature the contrasting supernatural characteristics are: the number of gods, their role in the creation of life, the occurrence of supernatural events and the main characters’ emotional reactions to the supernatural events. Firstly, the more obvious differences between these texts is the number of higher beings controlling the directional fate that the less divine and more mortal characters face.
In The Epic of Gilgamesh, right off the bat, the reader can acknowledge that actions taken by characters are a pursuit of their prerogative rather it being a task for the validity for a higher being. Puchner states in the introduction of The Hebrew Bible, that there is no justifiable explanation towards God’s actions – it is merely a matter of a test of loyalty and faith that God pursues such actions towards his faithful followers.
As an example, it is evident that as King Gilgamesh fully establishes the largest city in Mesopotamia, Uruk; he does so by “bringing] back tiding from before the flood” (Foster 8) and builds specially curated lavish, extravagant buildings. Though Gilgamesh establishes Uruk, the Hebrew Bible contrasts and supports the fact that the creation and development of the human world is created by God and humans merely live within the establishment.
Furthermore, creation of such creatures do not have a complex origin – more or less, God gives the creatures he newly creates in “Genesis 1-4” a function. An example being that humans “hold sway over the fish… cattle and the wild beasts and all the crawling things… ” (Alter 159). In The Hebrew Bible, God fails to te on his actions – his actions are put in the simplest of terms so reasoning and belief in His actions is done in faith. Nevertheless, God plays a major role in all aspects that effect his followers’ living circumstances.
While God in The Hebrew Bible, takes responsibility and full control in the fate of creatures, Gilgamesh, being two-thirds divine and one-third human, takes responsibility for building and ruling the city of Uruk from the bottom-up and he then leaves other tidings of fate to the other gods like Shamash, Aruru and Enlil – whom, even as they are totaled up, are only a small fraction of the dynamic supernatural world in The Epic of Gilgamesh.
With such little explanation by God in The Hebrew Bible, there is very little to discuss in terms of reasoning of his supernatural force whereas the epic presents long, but still supernatural explanations to their actions. In the same light, creation of life contrasts between these two works of literature. One supports the idea that the goddess: Aruru is the creator of life – by holding the title: goddess of birth – and in the opposing piece, once again, God is the creator of all forms of life present on the earth. In addition to, God’s creation of living creatures will not be supernatural rather they are mortal.
Large differences between this factor is evident in the creation of Enkidu by Aruru, and the general creation of humans by God. Enkidu is designed on the steppe in which Aruru creates him as an: “Offspring of potter’s clay, with the force of the hero Ninurta. He was made lush with head hair, like a woman, He knew neither people nor inhabited land He dressed as animals do” and Enkidu adapts to the lifestyle of a wild animals prior to engagements with Shamhat and Gilgamesh (Foster 102). Ninurta is the god of agriculture and war and also happens to be the son on Enlil – god of all tidings in relation to the earth world.
Contrastingly, as put by God in The Hebrew Bible, He “created human in his image, / in the image of God He created him” (Alter 159). From the descriptions, one can be sought out to have a larger, grand story of creation while the other relies on the profundity of power within one single force. The contrasts of the same task reinforce the statement that there are multiple gods that each hold different and separate roles in The Epic of Gilgamesh and or that God, in his entirety, is the reason for all in The Hebrew Bible.
In other aspects, the contrast of setting deals with the extremity of supernatural events. Moreover, events are an occurrence of the characters’ doings but the basis of reason is due to the supernatural. So, before Gilgamesh and Enkidu begin to embark on their journey to defeat the monster that guards the forest, Humbaba, and cut down a cedar tree to create a door out of it, Ninsun, “the wild cow” and Gilgamesh’s mother, calls upon Shamash, god of the sun and oracles, to assist and fix the battle between Gilgamesh, Endiku and Humbaba.
Ninsun pleas to “raise the great winds against Humbaba” so that he will fail to even touch Gilgamesh or Enkidu and eventually forfeit (Foster 113). The results are, as expected to be, prosperous to Gilgamesh and Enkidu. To speak in terms of either faith or coincidence, such actions have the potential to be a coincidence in what Ninsun hopes for prior to the engagements or the intended results may just be the supernatural forces assisting and fixing the situation.
Similarly, in The Hebrew Bible, Moses led the Egyptian Hebrews’ escape to return back to Canaan in “Exodus 19-20. ” This tasks is set upon Moses to from God that has “bore [him] on the wings of eagles” (Alter 191). Basically, Moses is chosen as the savior of what the Israelites face under condemnation of “slaver and exile” (Puchner 155). God recites to Moses in which he recites to the Israelites an extremely specific list of to do’s that, if one fails to follow it precisely, it will be punishable by death.
Successfully, Moses leads the Israelites to salvation and will become “[His] voice and keep [His] covenant and [he] will become for [Him] a treasure among all the peoples” (Alter 191). Reliance on one man is obvious, but to legitimately credit and discredit Moses or God is the acknowledgement of human-based problem solving and rulesetting or either the acknowledgement of the act of a higher force spreading his voice and declarations through a single human.
Nevertheless, the presence of supernatural forces experienced in such events is evident and evidence of contradicting facts fail to present themselves in these two supernaturally characteristic literary works. An equally important contrasting factor between the two literary works is the representation of emotion that characters showcase in regards to the aftermath of all supernatural events that The Epic of Gilgamesh and The Hebrew Bible present.
Firstly, after Gilgamesh mourns over the loss of Enkidu, he “roam[s] the steppe” and questions if he should die also because of the loss of Enkidu. Gilgamesh and Enkidu form a strong relationship prior to the Enkidu’s death due to their similarity in build, strength and power, but Puchner states in the introduction that “one of them must die” and because Gilgamesh is king of Uruk, the punishment of death goes toward Enkidu for killing the Bull of Heaven (Foster 134).
Being that Enlil is the god most similar to the god in The Hebrew Bible, Enkidu’s death is done to reprimand Gilgamesh and Enkidu’s wrongdoing. Anyways, ‘Woe has entered [Gilgamesh’s] vitals” and with that, one-third of his human genetics overtakes the two-thirds of his divinity; Gilgamesh faces an emotional reaction that supporting characters like Siduri, the tavern keeper, acknowledge and question his divinity with such human-like features protruding (Foster 134). In the same way, characters in the Hebrew Bible face the wrath of God.
For example, “the book of Job draws on an ancient folk tale about God and his Accuser testing a just man” (Puchner 155). Throughout all tests that God administers, Job persists in the dedication and belief that God’s ways are a viable act and therefore, Job “does not curse or in any way repudiate [God]” (Puchner 156). With such confusing and mysterious terms that God functions under, Job persists in the idea that “good people sometimes suffer dreadfully” and continues to remain as loyal to God as he previously is prior to the tests of faith (Puchner 156).
The supernatural characteristics present ordeals for characters and therefore the acknowledgment to the reaction of the supernatural outcomes give the reader a good understanding as to what and why the reasoning for such actions occur. In conclusion, the supernatural characteristics within The Epic of Gilgamesh and The Hebrew Bible present interesting and creative interpretations to actions and events.
The Epic of Gilgamesh presents a heroic tale that then transitions into the likelihood of humanity stepping in to puncture supernatural qualities whereas The Hebrew Bible presents stories revolving around a motif and single force of supernatural nature. The difference of acknowledging a single god or multiple gods, their role and responsibility in creating life and overall presence in the characters’ lives in relation to successes and triumphs and emotions is the contrast of such supernatural characteristics between The Epic of Gilgamesh and The Hebrew Bible