The Epic of Gilgamesh | Summary

Teacher What do you think the is trying to say? Be specific and cite.  The main idea of what the is trying to say is the philosophy of Ubuntu is basically “the quality of being human”. It can be elaborated as the “spirit of willing participation, unquestioning cooperation, warmth, openness, and personal dignity demonstrated by the indigenous black population”. (Flippin).

In the story of Gigamesh, it is about being good to achieve immortality instead of being physically immortal.
Are there any portions of the text that require clarification? Did you see a connection with any other text we have read this term? Be specific and cite
The text about Ubuntu is pretty straightforward and can be understood by almost anybody regardless of whatever background they came from. It is because the principle of Ubuntu which is really being humane, caring for others and thinking for the whole community has its equivalents in other societies such as Confucian’s “Golden Rule” and Buddhist’s Karma. For example, in the video “I am because you are” it referred to the collective whole and the environment as part of the bigger ecosystem that we exist as a reason why we should think beyond ourselves. The term may change such as Ubuntu but the concept is really universal.

The story of Gigamesh, however, may need some clarification because it is told in allegory. Meaning, its story must not be taken literally. The narration that the tree of youth was stolen from Gigamesh by a snake must be interpreted beyond the taking of the tree of life but rather as a symbolic meaning that there is no such thing as physical immortality and that it can only be achieved by doing good so that one will be remembered and that the gods will receive him or her in the heavens.

How does cultural context influence the text? Does it change your understanding of the text? Why or Why not? Be specific and cite.
The obvious influence of culture in the text is its terminology and semantics. Certain elements are also added such as the environment due to the cultural background of the text. In the philosophy of Ubuntu, for example, the term sounded Afrikaan because it came from Africa but the “quality of being human” of which the term meant is universal. The same principle can be found in other cultures albeit the term may change. Ubuntu’s oft-repeated: “Ubuntu ngumtu ngabanye abantu” which meant (“A person is a person through other people”) (Flippin) has its equivalent in Confucian society as do unto others as others would do unto you but the term changed for it to have an African origin.

In the story of Gigamesh, the terms also changed as well as the theme. Note that Gigamesh went to the wilderness to find Utnapishtim who is really the equivalent of Jewish and Christian’s Noah. But of course he will not be called as such because the story of Gigamesh is not Christian or Judaism by nature and being such narrates a story that reflects close kinship to nature as expected of Africans instead of Christian’s theology of resurrection. So it spoke of a tree of youth as a source of immortality instead of Jesus Christ among Christians.

 

Works Cited
Flippin, Jr. “Ubuntu: Applying African Philosophy in Building Community.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 5 Feb. 2012. Web. 4 Sept. 2014.
“Ubuntu: I Am Because You Are « Walk Out Walk On.” Walk Out Walk On. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Sept. 2014.

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