Gilgamesh (and Gawain)

Niels Peter Lemche npl at
Mon Jan 17 12:06:57 EST 2000

Point below well taken. I suggest that we here have literarily elaborate
examples of the old tale about the male hero of the fairy-tales, as analyzed
by Propp and others. There is really no reason to find direct links. I
believe that most popular literatures includes examples.

Whether or not it has something to do with general human experience is a
question I cannot answer. But we have plenty of evidence of literature that
might reflect such experience, and from most quarters of the earth.


> -----Original Message-----
> From:	Bryan Rocine [SMTP:brocine at]
> Sent:	Monday, 17 January, 2000 17:54
> To:	Biblical Hebrew
> Subject:	Re: Gilgamesh (and Gawain)
> B-Haverim,
> I am not asserting that the Hebrews might not know the
> literature of the ANE.  I also realize that this thread is
> primarily about the creation stories.  On the other hand, I
> suggest that when we try to determine whether the chicken
> (Biblical story) or the egg (other ANE stories) comes first,
> we should tread as though walking on eggs.  We ought to
> consider that the egg may be a big ol' goose egg, not a
> species of chicken at all.  For instance, to take an example
> in the extreme, both the heroes Gilgamesh and Gawain (14th
> century C.E. England) make noble journeys into the
> mysterious forest to meet their destinies before seemingly
> invincible creatures.  Are we to suggest that Gawain is the
> grandchild of Gilgamesh?  Unlikely to me, considering the
> 3000 years and 2000 miles between Gilgamesh and Gawain or
> 1000 years and 1500 miles between Gilgamesh and Gawain's
> Celtic origin, not to mention how deeply in detritus
> Gilgamesh was hidden at the time Gawain.   I realize, of
> course, that "Gawain and the Green Knight" is not ANE
> literature, but I bring it up to illustrate a parallel that
> some scholars have previously noted.  My point is that if
> such close but *non-genetic* parallels can exist between
> historically and culturally divergent literatures, why not
> also, even more naturally, within ANE cultures?
> What, then, can account for the striking parallels between
> the literature of different cultures, whether it be
> Gilgamesh to Gawain, Gilgamesh/Enkidu to David/Jonathan or
> Greek tragedy to Biblical?  I think we explain such
> parallels more naturally and safely as merely similar
> reflections of a common human experience than (more
> speculatively) as genetically direct relatives.  Whenever or
> wherever it be, the human heart often speaks the same
> language, often speaks the same stories.
> Shalom,
> Bryan
> > Walter Mattfeld wrote:
> >
> > snip
> >
> > My own research suggests that the ancient Hebrews
> creatively drew
> > from the
> >
> > > creation myths of the ANE world, and reinterpreting them
> with a
> > "new twist,"
> B. M. Rocine
> Associate Pastor
> Living Word Church
> 6101 Court St. Rd.
> Syracuse, NY 13206
> (office) 315.437.6744
> (home) 315.479.8267
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