Desire, Discord and Death: Approaches to Near Eastern Myth by Neal Walls

By Neal Walls

The 3 essays awarded during this quantity display the symbolic complexity and poetic imaginative and prescient of historical close to jap mythology. during the program of up to date equipment of literary research, the writer explores the interrelated topics of erotic wish, divine clash, and death’s realm in chosen historic Mesopotamian and Egyptian mythological narratives. subject matters comprise the development of hope within the Gilgamesh epic, a psychoanalytic method of “The Contendings of Horus and Seth,” and gender and the workout of energy within the stormy romance of Nergal and Ereshkigal. partitions’ clean therapy of those 3 vital myths brings them to lifestyles for the professional and mythology buff alike.

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Extra info for Desire, Discord and Death: Approaches to Near Eastern Myth (ASOR Books)

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Whatever his eventual attainment of virtue or self-transcending knowledge, Gilgamesh remains a passionate and self-absorbed character throughout this episode of the epic, and probably throughout his search for Utnapishtim. , Vanstiphout 1990), in which case Gilgamesh’s refusal of her proposal is a dereliction of his royal duties. Instead of depicting Ishtar’s dangerous sexuality as a threat to one man’s masculinity, this interpretative approach places greater emphasis on Gilgamesh’s kingly responsibility, as the representative of his people, to pleasure the city goddess and procure her blessings for his reign.

Bell’s image of the “philosopher/whore” has heuristic value in identifying the multiple roles played by Shamhat in Enkidu’s acculturation, but this image should not obscure the social reality of prostitutes as liminal women in ancient Mesopotamia. Shamhat’s silence is thus explained by the patriarchal perspective that defines her existence and against which Bell is agitating. ” The prostitute will be further stigmatized and separated from proper female society in Enkidu’s curse: “May she not dwell in the young women’s banquet house” (VII 106; reading with Lambert 1992:129–30).

As foreseen in his dreams, Gilgamesh will love Enkidu and caress him like a wife. 61 Ishtar attempts to reduce him to an object of her libidinal desire, but Gilgamesh’s denial of the goddess privileges masculine appeal and the desire for male companionship. The heroes’ mutual devotion obviates any further consideration of feminine allure in the SB epic text. The heroic rejection of women THE ALLURE OF GILGAMESH 47 for the manly life of comrades is therefore easily read as code for same-sex male love rather than celibacy.

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