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In "The Epic of Gilgamesh", the similarities and differences between primal and archaic societies can easily be spotted.

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Introduction

Michelle Nock Mr. Frank Ferreri Intro to World Religions 2300-002 Monday and Wednesday 12-150pm Fall 2003 Essay Number #1 Topic #2 Page 1 In "The Epic of Gilgamesh", the similarities and differences between primal and archaic societies can easily be spotted. There are even some important topics presented in the epic that are not normally mentioned as being related to primal religions. The differences in the story bring up a few questions like how the gods play their role, why they seem to be more archaic than primal, and what is the over-all moral? These questions and thoughts make "The Epic of Gilgamesh" stand on the line between primal and archaic religions. Primal religion can be dated as far back as 8000BCE, and is known as the first cosmic religion. That is, the belief system is based on the sun, moon, stars, etc. These cultures held their religious beliefs very close to their everyday activities and lives. They had a close relationship with the gods, held a belief that everything had a spirit, and named their tribes after specific "beings" and used this "being" as their totem. ...read more.

Middle

Along the same line, the people in primal cultures saw everything in nature as being alive, with a spirit and a purpose while the urbanized society in Gilgamesh, again, had a separation from nature. The society in Gilgamesh also had a different view on women than the primal culture did. In the society of Gilgamesh, the women had no rights at all. The women of primal societies had a purpose and a place it seemed like. These differences that appear in primal religiosity and in the society of Gilgamesh now lead us into questions of ultimate concern. Between these two groups, there are different questions that they concern themselves with. Within the story of Gilgamesh, a couple questions are raised that are not usually associated with primal cultures. One is Gilgamesh's search for immortality/everlasting life. The primal cultures believed that everything happened for a reason. They took on more of a "what happens, happens" approach while in the story of Gilgamesh, he would not settle for that as an answer when Enkindu dies. ...read more.

Conclusion

It can be seen as a cosmological myth for a couple of simple reasons. One reason is that there appears to be no time given, the story just happens. One characteristic of a cosmological myth is that there is no sense of history. Another characteristic of a cosmological myth is that they are not intended to give a direct fulfillment of a natural change. It also can not stand as an image to an original. It is intended to provide a supplementary understanding of the topic at hand. "The Epic of Gilgamesh" does just that. With all of this in mind, "The Epic of Gilgamesh" provides readers and listeners from the past decades an entertaining look and perspective on life. The major differences in primal and archaic cultures can easily be noted. These differences can bee seen in the interaction with gods and spirits down to the different ways of life. "The Epic of Gilgamesh" is not really about the differences between two cultures, however. It is more like a story about brotherly love, change, hope, life, death, adventure, gods and monsters. It is a very interesting tale that really can be enjoyed by all. ...read more.

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