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How does Omnibus handle Gilgamesh?


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I've been reading the Westwood version of Gilgamesh someone mentioned here, and I'm curious how Omnibus handles it, why it's on the Omnibus list, etc. I'm not a history buff, but I'm trying to bone up to get ready for Omnibus in a couple years. Actually part of it is I'm trying to understand their goals and what they're trying to do with the material.

 

So what does Omnibus do with Gilgamesh? I read the introductory history material in the preface (Westwood, not Omnibus), and I gather it relates to their mythology and hero tales. But why does O have you read them? And what types of things do you discuss or learn as a result of plowing through them? Oh, and do you read the whole book of tales or just the specific one called Gilgamesh?

 

Honestly, the whole book is kinda WEIRD.... Maybe it would make more sense to me if I had the O commentary? :)

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I will stake a stab at answering this.

 

some people don't 'do' Gilgamesh. It is not part of the western canon. It was not discovered or translated until the late 1800's. so you won't see other great books refer to it.

 

But SWB does include it in her lists.

 

It is the first piece of recorded literature (probably written down before Moses wrote the Pentateuch) and it is interesting to see many of the things that DO occur in later literature show up here - what is the role of a king? how do men relate to gods? what is man's problem? and what is the solution to that problem?

 

I also appreciated that this was Abraham's background. To understand Gilgamesh is to understand the culture that God called Abraham OUT of.

 

Omnibus talks about friendship as one of the themes of Gilgamesh.

 

When first discovered and translated many people were thrilled to have some type of 'outside verification' of the flood from a secular source. Using the two flood stories (in Bible and Gilgamesh) make for a good compare and contrast essay.

 

Interestingly enough, in one version there is a story of Gilgamesh sending Enkide to the underworld. Over the course of the year we also read about Odysseus and Aeneas visiting the underworld. We then looked at when Jesus descended and how his visit was completely different. there is a whole theory of scriptural interpretation out there that says the gospels (or at least Mark) are written firmly in the tradition of epic. I don't necessarily believe it but epic was a form familiar to at least some of the original readers of scripture and reading the gospels with that interpretation in mind is interesting.

 

I also thought it significant that when Gilgamesh was confronted with Enkidu's death (should I have put spoilers under a cut?) was "this is going to happen to me!! what can i do??" not concern for his friend.

 

There's an episode of "Next Generation" where Picard tells the story of Gilgamesh and Enkidu to an alien captain. He is seen, at the end of the show, reading the Odyssey - in Greek. I love to show that clip!

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JMHO....Get a different version...I will look and try to find mine. The Gilgamesh that Omnibus used was extremely sexually explicit, and I nixed that one right off the bat. I found a version that was still in poetic form, but used language that was eluding to the seual parts, but was not so explicit and descriptive and it wasn't so YUCKY!

 

We read Gilgamesh, compared it to the Flood account in the Bible and then discussed how nations that did not have God's Word still had an oral history of events that occured. These events were twisted and changed...ala' "Telephone" but proves once again that God's written Word is accurate. We also studied other "flood myths" in this light. It was very enlightening and we enjoyed the readings.

 

Faithe

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Wow, that helps immensely and helps it make a lot more sense! So did you learn all that from Omnibus? (Well all except the Star Trek tidbit, haha.) Or did you have to pull in other sources like Spark Notes?

 

So what is the actual PURPOSE of Omnibus? I'm starting to realize it's to allow younger students than high school to interact with deep materials on the level they are able in order to prepare them to go through them a 2nd time in high school. But is that necessary? Or could you do just Omnibus 4-6 and pull in all the levels of thought?

 

Will Gilgamesh be covered again in Omnibus 4? I guess we'll know when the new catalog comes out.

 

Well thanks for all that explanation. It makes a lot more sense now and gives me a better sense of how Omnibus is approaching things.

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Faithe, I'd definitely be interested in the version you used! The Westwood Gilgamesh is narrative, not poetry.

 

 

I'll look for it and get back to you later. It really was a fun read and My college age dd used this one in her "Religions of the West" course.

 

As far as the "point " of Omnibus...well I think you basically nailed it. It is a wonderful introduction to the Great Conversation...written to "dialectic" or "logic" stage kids. It helps them to put Theology, History and Literature into perspective and then hold it up to scripture. It is definitely a mile wide and only as deep as you make it. At the dialectic stage, how deep you go is really up to each teacher and student. My son would have rather read less books, covered less time and went much deeper...BUT then again he is almost 15 and hovering the Rhetoric stage. We also did Omni 3 online, so he had to keep up with their schedule. At 12, when we did Omni 1, he was perfectly happy with just reading the books...getting the story line...talking a bit and moving on.

 

I am not sure if we will use Omni 4 or not....He needs a history break, so we may return to 4 &5 for 11th & 12th...we'll see.

TTFN,

Faithe

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There's an episode of "Next Generation" where Picard tells the story of Gilgamesh and Enkidu to an alien captain. He is seen, at the end of the show, reading the Odyssey - in Greek. I love to show that clip!

 

We watched that when the kids read Gilgamesh. :-)

 

I love that episode. (The aliens use metaphor as the basis of their language...also a great way to cover metaphor for that lit. analysis! "Shaka...when the walls fell!")

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Wonderfully expressed, Kate! Thank you for that post. :001_smile:

 

 

We did use Jennifer Westwood's retelling of Gilgamesh -- plus read the Babylonian myths in the slim volume -- and found it very helpful in understanding the Eastern mindset (of which most of the Old Testament is steeped -- especially think of the book of Job). Ancient Israel thought was much more similar to that Babylonian way of thinking -- poetry, metaphor, and discovering Truth through dialogue and circling around it, rather than Truth as if it could only be expressed/pinned down through logic/scientific discovery. Our current Western culture stems from an ancient Greek logical/scientific mindset, and most of the New Testament was written in this mindset as well.

 

We, too did a great compare/contrast paper on the Biblical and Babylonian versions of the flood myth, which revealed the deeply different mindsets of the 2 monotheistic and polytheistic cultures.

 

And we, too, had a blast finishing off our study by watching the Star Trek: Next Generation episode (season 5) -- I first saw it years ago when pregnant/hormonal and sobbed; and still teared up again this time! The power of story and metaphor so poignantly expressed. After all, God (in Genesis) and Jesus (in His parables) were the original Great Storytellers and express Truth through metaphor. It's only natural that we, who are made in His image, would do so, too.

 

 

Finally, we found Gilgamesh to be worthwhile since it is the oldest surviving literature in the world -- and we were amazed at much it resembles so many epic stories throughout the centuries with so many similar themes: powerful warrior; hubris and fall; realization of mortality and search for immortality; power of friendship and "blood brothers"; sacrifice; etc.

 

 

Whether a prose or a poetry version, enjoy your literary journey! Warmest regards, Lori D.

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