The Bedford Anthology Of World Literature: Class Discussion

Epic of Creation (Enuma Elish)

Describe the creation story. How is it different from the Biblical account? Are any of these differences significant?

The process of creation first initiates with the presence of water and nothing else. This water is divided into two beings: ‘Apsu’, or the freshwater and ‘Tiamat’, who is the wife of Apsu and is also the saltwater. Tiamat is considered as a violent force and when both of these forces unify the formation of slit takes place and from this, the process the Gods are formed and then the formation of the universe commences. These Gods produce offsprings which start reining the various cosmos.

Apsu is troubled by the menace caused by the Gods and plans on destroying them even though they are his own children. When Tiamat gets to know of his husbands plan she feels frightened but is not able to defeat her husband. However, Apsu is defeated by his own grandson Ea. His son Marduk drives the winds on the salty waters which enrage Tiamat who is now married to the God Kingu. Marduk plans on defeating Tiamat and Kingu’s army on one condition; that he be made the leader of all gods. Marduk was tested for this purpose and was then sent to the battle. Marduk fought with Tiamat defeats her and then uses her body to make the skydome. He then creates the Tigris and Euphrates rivers by burying her head in the mountain and piercing her eye. Marduk then demands Babylon to be made which will be his royal city which will house a temple Esagilla. He then commands to use humans to serve the Gods.
Not much is different between Enuma Elish and the biblical version of the creation of God but some differences that do exist is that according to Enuma, Elish Tiamat’s body was used to create the world and the world was created based on wars and fights whereas according to the biblical version God created world practically based on nothing and the world was made with love. There are not many notable differences to be pointed out between the two versions.

The Epic of Gilgamesh

What does Humbaba represent? How do you interpret his conflict with the heroes?

Humbaba is a monster who protects the Cedar Forest. The cedar forest is prohibited for mortals or human beings. Humbaba has the ability to paralyze anyone with fright. He has a mouth of fire and he has a roar similar to flood and death is in his breath and he resembles a volcano that is about to erupt. He possesses layers of armors which are seven in number and provide him protection. The conflict between Humbaba and the Gods revealed that Humbaba is not a monster after all and he also possesses emotions, this can be seen when he begs for his life to be spared by God and even promises to serve the God his entire life.

Hebrew Scriptures: Genesis

Why do you feel that God commands Abraham to kill Isaac? How do you reconcile the fact that an all-loving God commanded a human sacrifice?

The test that Abraham had to face whereby he was asked to sacrifice his only son Isaac was one of the most severe forms of tests that Abraham had to face. Abraham obeyed the command given by God and took Isaac to be sacrificed which Isaac was willingly agreed to. The belief and faith that Abraham had in God are what made him pass the test and instead of Isaac, an animal was sacrificed.
Even though God made Abraham go through such a test he still remains an all-loving entity since he never allowed the sacrifice to take place and Isaac was left unharmed and God would have never allowed such a thing to happen. Abraham himself knew of god’s plan of not harming Isaac and it was the belief of Abraha that he firmly believed that no one would be harmed.


Works Cited
Davis, Paul et al. The Bedford Anthology Of World Literature, Compact Edition, Volume 1: The Ancient, Medieval, And Early Modern World (Beginnings). Bedford: St. Martins, 2015. Print.

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