Man to God Relationship Sumerian, Judaic, and Greek Cultures The Sumerians emerged approximately 3000 to 2500 B. C. in a region known as the "Fertile Crescent" located between the Euphrates and Tigris River and were considered by most historians to be the world's first civilization. During this period of time, a form of writing was established known as cuneiform.
It was from this form of writing that we discovered a great epic known as Gilgamesh and became enlightened about the Man to God relationship of the Sumerian culture. Similarly, the Judaic culture emerged within the same region. A man named Abraham, a Sumerian, was believed to have come from the city of Ur. Abraham is known today as the father of three religions Judaic, Islamic, and Christianity. During the period of 1000 to 300 B. C.
we see another great book of stories emerge known as the Bible: The Old Testament. This collection of work tells us about the history of the Jewish people. During the late 8 th century B. C. the Greek alphabet is formed and two great epic poems emerged known as the Iliad and Odyssey. There is some controversy today of the author, Homer, and whether or not he even existed, but regardless of the author, we are introduced to the Greek culture by these two great works of literature.
Mans relationship to God played a huge role during the early periods of civilization and within the three cultures mentioned above. The Sumerians and Greeks were polytheistic whereas the Judaic religion was considered monotheistic. The Sumerians like the Greeks communicated and had a personal relationship with the Gods. For example, Ishtar, the goddess of love and war, made advances towards Gilgamesh, which he rejected and provoked her into sending the Bull of Heaven to destroy the people of Uruk.
Gilgamesh was considered to be part god, "two thirds they made him god and one third man." The Greeks also communicated with the Gods where Odysseus takes advice from "gray eyed Athena" goddess of wisdom and feared "Poseidon" god of the sea. The Jewish religion, on the other hand, we see the work of one God. In God's creation, both good and evil co-exists in the world and the concept of "free will" was introduced. In the Judaic culture we learn about the human suffering and sacrifices, through the stories of the Bible.
Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Joseph and Job all were made to suffer and make sacrifices at the hand of God. The Sumerians (Gilgamesh) and the Greeks (Odysseus) also had to suffer and make sacrifices during their life but at the hands of multiple gods. There is common story that appears in both the Sumerian and Judaic culture and that is the story of a great flood. Gilgamesh sought out a man who was believed to be immortal named Utnapishtim and survived a great flood.
Utnapishtim tells Gilgamesh about "The Story of the Flood." The Bible tells a story about a man named Noah who was chosen by God to build a great ark and take his family and two of every living creature with him into the ark. The two stories are remarkably similar. There is a common theme between the Sumerian and Greek cultures, which is the quest for immortality, the quest for the human spirit to survive, and is there life after death. In Gilgamesh we see him embark on a long journey in search of immortality. When Gilgamesh finds Utnapishtim he fails two simple tests that can ensure his immortality.
The first test is where he can not remain awake and the second is when he loses the plant of rejuvenation to a serpent. In the Odyssey we see Odysseus on a ten year journey to return home and he encounters many obstacles and tests. Odysseus was put to the test when he encountered the Cyclops and he proved his will to survive. In "A Gathering of Shades" we witness Odysseus questioning his immortality with the dead and the true meaning of his existence. This was their way to question the Gods and to search for the truth and the meaning of life. However, in the Judaic culture we see only one God and many stories of different men that are put to the test.
Throughout time the Man to God relationship has had an extremely large impact on the development of the human civilizations up to and including today. We are still on a quest to find the meaning of life, is there life after death, and will the human spirit survive.