Gilgamesh is older than BC 2000 and his epic is still better than any story in the bible. It should be added to the bible, so I’d want to read the bible.
Wildman Enkidu and Great King Gilgamesh fight each other for days as equals until they collapse. In one version then they get up and smile at each other and become gay fuck buddies.
Go off on a quest together
Gilgamesh is heartbroken and wants to find something that can make him live forever
He almost reaches it, but it inevitably slips away
Comes home defeated and has to admit he won’t live forever.
Feels a newfound appreciation for his city
In 2000 AD Japanese remember Gilgamesh is awesome and turn him into something of a popular culture god.
It seems like Atheists are much more likely to have read the epic of Gilgamesh. I personally read it at a bookstore in my freshman year of High School because I was excited about reading the world’s first epic (2000 BC at least) while I was waiting to see a movie so forgettable I can’t even remember what it was. I thought Gilgamesh was awesome though, and that opinion hasn’t changed.
So recently when I joked that I wished it was in the bible so I’d feel like reading the bible, some Atheists instantly pointed out a lot of similarities between it and the bible- namely, the flood myth, the serpent, and the innocence fable. To paraphrase their words, “original ideas are very rare and religion is like an inbred bulldog, with one only change per century. Of course Hebrew literature had to plagiarize their more sophisticated neighbors who were kicking their primitive asses.”
Wikipedia has a bunch more. One of these days I’ll have to reread it to see how much my perspective has changed, (hopefully by then I’ll know more about Sumerian gods.) I love the prose though, the very opening narration Gilgamesh sounds like the king of kings, the first hero, the ultimate superhero, and it even sounds like Enkidu was his gay bff fuck buddy in the earlier versions, so it’s more progressive than most of the bible and the world’s literature.
Plus when the flood happens, the gods discuss the ethics of it and reprimand the god who caused it for reasons only Atheists are ready to point out, making the bible and the book of Enoch feel like watered-down retelling. The story’s core message on transience and the note it ends on always gets to me too in a Greek sort of way that no story in the bible ever did.
It’s funny how my esteem for Sumerians and Egyptians has always been inversely proportional to my respect for the Hebrews. The very cultures the bible labels evil, are to any person with sufficient knowledge, revealed to be more interesting, sophisticated. The cultures I used to be uninterested in suddenly make my ears perk up, while any mention of the Hebrews makes them lie flat as I think, “I’m so tired of more propaganda about the most stone age culture in the Middle East.” These days I have more respect for the Philistines and Sea People than for the Hebrews, at least they had better metal technology and probably developed writing before the Hebrews.