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L02 Class 5: Mesopotamia & Monotheism

Due for Class

Read: The Epic of Gilgamesh (excerpts)

Group A: Pre-Class Response

Watch for Class

No Crash Course this time, but our discussion of Judaism will make a lot more sense if you read a primer on the religion & it's history.

I recommend you read ONE (not all) of the following resources:

  • Patheos Religion Library: Judaism - “Overview”, “Beginnings,” “Influences,” “Sacred Texts,” and “Sacred Narratives (Plus any other sections that are of interest to you)
  • Khan Academy: Judaism: An Introduction; Jewish History to the Middle Ages
  • BBC Religions: Judaism: "At a glance," "History" (minus "British Jews" and "Readmission"), and "Texts" are the most relevant sections. You do not have to read everything, but do take some time to explore and get a sense of the important aspects of the religion.

Agenda for Class

Slides will be posted by the start of class

Q & A - Any questions from last class? Add them in the comments.

Discussion: The Epic of Gilgamesh

Discussion Questions

  • THE HERO - What do we, at present, expect from heroes? What do the Sumerians seem to expect from heroes? Is Gilgamesh a hero?
  • THE DEITIES - You could think about relationships to humans, characteristics of the deities, how they show up in the story, and/or if anything is surprising about them…
  • THE WOMEN - Let’s start with the assumption that the women are not just objectified. They have varied roles and jobs in the text. They have agency. And then we can talk about objectification.
  • THE MEN - What is Gilgamesh and Enkidu’s friendship like? What qualities make them masculine - and do these qualities differ from masculinity today?
  • MARKERS OF CIVILIZATION - How does Enkidu become civilized? Why is Gilgamesh maybe not so civilized? Is Uruk a civilized place?

From Discussion Activity

Content: Experiments in Monotheism


Thumbnail Image: Caravaggio, The Sacrifice of Isaac (Wikipedia)

Earlier Event: September 11
L01 Class 5: Mesopotamia & Monotheism
Later Event: September 12
L03 Class 5: Mesopotamia & Monotheism