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Author Topic: Epic Poetry From Gilgamesh To The Cantos [And More?]  (Read 2727 times)

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toff

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Epic Poetry From Gilgamesh To The Cantos [And More?]
« on: August 11, 2018, 01:53:00 am »








I was asked by both Sasha and Patrick Jane to start a thread on a similar topic. I chose this particular topic because it is what I am currently interested in. Gilgamesh because it is the most auncient epic I am aware of. The Cantos because it is the only Modernist attempt at an epic I am aware of.

Gilgamesh precedes the Greek epics. It belongs to an even more auncient civilisation than Greece.

We move on then to the famous Iliad, Odyssey, Theogonia and Works and Days. The Iliad is the famous poem dealing with the invasion of Ilias or Troy by a unified Greek army which deals more specifically with Achilleus. The Odyssey on the contrary takes place over many different locations and centres on a hero present in the Iliad namely Odysseus or Ulysses to use the Roman term. Theogonia deals with the birth of the gods. It was said that Hesiod entered a poesy competition with Homer and won not based on his prowess but his preference for farming life in Works and Days where Homer spoke constantly of bloodshed. It was however also said that the jury were so sick of Homer after having to learn about him constantly at school.

We then come to Catullus, Virgil, Ovid and Horace. Catullus was a great influence on some Roman intellectuals. Virgil wrote his magnum opus called the Aeneid about the hero Aeneas who also appears in the poesy of Homer. Ovid wrote a guide to lovemaking called Ars Amatoria as well as a long poem chronicling Greek and Roman myth entitled Metamorphoses. Horace I know little about. There are many more early Latin poets that I hope to get around to. Anyone who knows something about them is free to share.

Before moving on to the national European epics perhaps it would be wise to mention the auncient Oriental ones as well. These include Mahabharata, Ramayana, Kojiki, et alii and represent a completely different source of poetry separate from the Homeric tradition.

Now the land with which I wish to deal is England considering I am after all writing in the English language. We have an auncient epic entitled Beowulf. But there are also later medieval epics most notably The Canterbury Tales and Faerie Queene. Spenser was sent to Cork in Ireland despite hating the Gaels and wrote much of Faerie Queene there. He is often considered a national English poet and is referred to often by Keats.

The other national epics I would like to deal with are from Ireland, Wales, Germany, Finland and Italy. Tain Bo Cuailnge deals with a fight between Ferdia and Cu Chulainn or Setanta watched over by Maedbh. Mabinogion is the Welsh epic. Das Niebelungenlied is famous for its influence upon both Wagner and Tolkien. Kalevala is the Finnish epic. Divina Commedia is possibly the most influential poem in the Italian language and perhaps any language at all.

Which brings me to my final poem and one of the people who was influenced by Divina Commedia. This is a very strange one. You will notice that all the poems I mentioned were written in auncient or medieval times. This one however was written in the early twentieth century. It is referred to as the Cantos and is Modernist. It was written by an American expatriate by the name of Ezra Pound who wrote much of it in Italy either in a house in Rapallo or in a jail cell out in the cold after the second world war. He also spent some time in a sanatorium in the United States of America and wrote prolifically while incarcerated.

Please contribute to the thread chaps.

Toff.





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I was asked by both Sasha and Patrick Jane to start a thread on a similar topic. I chose this particular topic because it is what I am currently interested in. Gilgamesh because it is the most auncient epic I am aware of. The Cantos because it is the only Modernist attempt at an epic I am aware of.

Gilgamesh precedes the Greek epics. It belongs to an even more auncient civilisation than Greece.

We move on then to the famous Iliad, Odyssey, Theogonia and Works and Days. The Iliad is the famous poem dealing with the invasion of Ilias or Troy by a unified Greek army which deals more specifically with Achilleus. The Odyssey on the contrary takes place over many different locations and centres on a hero present in the Iliad namely Odysseus or Ulysses to use the Roman term. Theogonia deals with the birth of the gods. It was said that Hesiod entered a poesy competition with Homer and won not based on his prowess but his preference for farming life in Works and Days where Homer spoke constantly of bloodshed. It was however also said that the jury were so sick of Homer after having to learn about him constantly at school.

We then come to Catullus, Virgil, Ovid and Horace. Catullus was a great influence on some Roman intellectuals. Virgil wrote his magnum opus called the Aeneid about the hero Aeneas who also appears in the poesy of Homer. Ovid wrote a guide to lovemaking called Ars Amatoria as well as a long poem chronicling Greek and Roman myth entitled Metamorphoses. Horace I know little about. There are many more early Latin poets that I hope to get around to. Anyone who knows something about them is free to share.

Before moving on to the national European epics perhaps it would be wise to mention the auncient Oriental ones as well. These include Mahabharata, Ramayana, Kojiki, et alii and represent a completely different source of poetry separate from the Homeric tradition.

Now the land with which I wish to deal is England considering I am after all writing in the English language. We have an auncient epic entitled Beowulf. But there are also later medieval epics most notably The Canterbury Tales and Faerie Queene. Spenser was sent to Cork in Ireland despite hating the Gaels and wrote much of Faerie Queene there. He is often considered a national English poet and is referred to often by Keats.

The other national epics I would like to deal with are from Ireland, Wales, Germany, Finland and Italy. Tain Bo Cuailnge deals with a fight between Ferdia and Cu Chulainn or Setanta watched over by Maedbh. Mabinogion is the Welsh epic. Das Niebelungenlied is famous for its influence upon both Wagner and Tolkien. Kalevala is the Finnish epic. Divina Commedia is possibly the most influential poem in the Italian language and perhaps any language at all.

Which brings me to my final poem and one of the people who was influenced by Divina Commedia. This is a very strange one. You will notice that all the poems I mentioned were written in auncient or medieval times. This one however was written in the early twentieth century. It is referred to as the Cantos and is Modernist. It was written by an American expatriate by the name of Ezra Pound who wrote much of it in Italy either in a house in Rapallo or in a jail cell out in the cold after the second world war. He also spent some time in a sanatorium in the United States of America and wrote prolifically while incarcerated.

Please contribute to the thread chaps.

Toff.
Awesome thread and first post. I will be following this thread and sharing it on social media 5 times a day to get viewers. I have always thought to myself since I first heard of them, that I would read these epics and ancient books. I have a library card and the spare time. Nothing is stopping me from reading and posting about it here.

I'd bet a million bucks that I find some connections to flat earth that may be overlooked by the FE community. This and studying the Book of Enoch are my next endeavors once this forum gets settled.

toff, you have inspired me very much by coming here. I knew you had a lot of wisdom. This is God working effectually.
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I was asked by both Sasha and Patrick Jane to start a thread on a similar topic. I chose this particular topic because it is what I am currently interested in. Gilgamesh because it is the most auncient epic I am aware of. The Cantos because it is the only Modernist attempt at an epic I am aware of.

Gilgamesh precedes the Greek epics. It belongs to an even more auncient civilisation than Greece.

We move on then to the famous Iliad, Odyssey, Theogonia and Works and Days. The Iliad is the famous poem dealing with the invasion of Ilias or Troy by a unified Greek army which deals more specifically with Achilleus. The Odyssey on the contrary takes place over many different locations and centres on a hero present in the Iliad namely Odysseus or Ulysses to use the Roman term. Theogonia deals with the birth of the gods. It was said that Hesiod entered a poesy competition with Homer and won not based on his prowess but his preference for farming life in Works and Days where Homer spoke constantly of bloodshed. It was however also said that the jury were so sick of Homer after having to learn about him constantly at school.

We then come to Catullus, Virgil, Ovid and Horace. Catullus was a great influence on some Roman intellectuals. Virgil wrote his magnum opus called the Aeneid about the hero Aeneas who also appears in the poesy of Homer. Ovid wrote a guide to lovemaking called Ars Amatoria as well as a long poem chronicling Greek and Roman myth entitled Metamorphoses. Horace I know little about. There are many more early Latin poets that I hope to get around to. Anyone who knows something about them is free to share.

Before moving on to the national European epics perhaps it would be wise to mention the auncient Oriental ones as well. These include Mahabharata, Ramayana, Kojiki, et alii and represent a completely different source of poetry separate from the Homeric tradition.

Now the land with which I wish to deal is England considering I am after all writing in the English language. We have an auncient epic entitled Beowulf. But there are also later medieval epics most notably The Canterbury Tales and Faerie Queene. Spenser was sent to Cork in Ireland despite hating the Gaels and wrote much of Faerie Queene there. He is often considered a national English poet and is referred to often by Keats.

The other national epics I would like to deal with are from Ireland, Wales, Germany, Finland and Italy. Tain Bo Cuailnge deals with a fight between Ferdia and Cu Chulainn or Setanta watched over by Maedbh. Mabinogion is the Welsh epic. Das Niebelungenlied is famous for its influence upon both Wagner and Tolkien. Kalevala is the Finnish epic. Divina Commedia is possibly the most influential poem in the Italian language and perhaps any language at all.

Which brings me to my final poem and one of the people who was influenced by Divina Commedia. This is a very strange one. You will notice that all the poems I mentioned were written in auncient or medieval times. This one however was written in the early twentieth century. It is referred to as the Cantos and is Modernist. It was written by an American expatriate by the name of Ezra Pound who wrote much of it in Italy either in a house in Rapallo or in a jail cell out in the cold after the second world war. He also spent some time in a sanatorium in the United States of America and wrote prolifically while incarcerated.

Please contribute to the thread chaps.

Toff.



Toff,

You have just given a broad overview of some of the most influential literature in history!  I am excited to dive into the various works you have cited here.  I went to uni. for a stent, but personal family matters prevented me from finishing.  I can only say that writing is my passion and there is no doubt that I have regrets for not being more aware of how central to my life that writing was, when I was studying. 

It is refreshing to know you’re out there and upholding the lamp of literature within a world that is drifting away from it.  I’m going to have to seriously ponder on each work you have cited and given back history to, and decide where to settle. 

Gilgamesh will be my first focus, as I am well aware that the Babylonian verses have a depth of historical background I draw from in bible study.  Most people are very unaware at how clearly things like Gilgamesh and Hammurabi should be understood to give more information on biblical historic study.

Gilgamesh, as I remember, refracts elements of the human soul that remind us that however many years pass and however greatly technology advances, our very central Being is no different than that of the ancients.

Thank you for taking the time to kick this off!  This is a new ocean for myself to wade out into and I’m greatful you have pointed me towards it.
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In the next 7 days I will go to the library and pick up Gilgamesh to start reading.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2018, 12:35:50 pm by patrick jane »
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In the the 7 days I will go to the library and pick up Gilgamesh to start reading.

A flood account is cited in the Epic.  It is an interesting find and it is a place that is extra biblical, but is one of many ancient accounts of literature that echo the event.

You may find that interesting.  :)
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An enticing quote from the Eoic of Gilgamesh.

“It was he who opened the mountain passes,
who dug wells on the flank of the mountain.
It was he who crossed the ocean, the vast seas, to the rising sun,
who explored the world regions, seeking life.
It was he who reached by his own sheer strength Utanapishtim, the Faraway,
who restored the sanctuaries (or: cities) that the Flood had destroyed!”
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Toff, this is a mega topic and I want you to know that I’m actually studying up.  This thread you have been so kind to author is very important to me.

I just wanted to say hello and let you know I appreciate it.
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My great aunt gave me her complete Shakespeare collection. I had a hard time with them. I read several of them, but only understood some. His insight into human nature is astounding. I'm going to try to get into Gilgamesh so I can enter this conversation.
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My great aunt gave me her complete Shakespeare collection. I had a hard time with them. I read several of them, but only understood some. His insight into human nature is astounding. I'm going to try to get into Gilgamesh so I can enter this conversation.
They are two very different poetic voices. I would say Gilgamesh is a lot easier going than the bard.
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Epic of Gilgamesh

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

For other uses, see Epic of Gilgamesh (disambiguation).
Epic of Gilgamesh
British Museum Flood Tablet.jpg
The Deluge tablet of the Gilgamesh epic in Akkadian
Written   c. 2100 BC
Country   Mesopotamia
Language   Sumerian
Media type   clay tablet

Part of a series on
Ancient
Mesopotamian religion
Chaos Monster and Sun God
Primordial beings[show]
Seven gods who decree[show]
Other major deities[show]


Minor deities[show]
Demigods and heroes[hide]
Adapa
Enkidu
Enmerkar
Gilgamesh
Lugalbanda
Shamhat
Siduri
Atra-Hasis
Apkallu (seven sages)
Spirits and monsters[show]
Tales[show]
Related topics
Ancient Near Eastern religions
Sumerian religion
Babylonian religion
Royal Epics of Uruk
a series in Sumerian Literature
Enmerkar of Uruk[show]
Lugalbanda of Uruk[show]
Dumuzid and Gilgamesh of Uruk[show]

The Epic of Gilgamesh (/ˈɡɪlɡəˌmɛʃ/)[1] is an epic poem from ancient Mesopotamia that is often regarded as the earliest surviving great work of literature. The literary history of Gilgamesh begins with five Sumerian poems about Bilgamesh (Sumerian for "Gilgamesh"), king of Uruk, dating from the Third Dynasty of Ur (c. 2100 BC).

These independent stories were later used as source material for a combined epic. The first surviving version of this combined epic, known as the "Old Babylonian" version, dates to the 18th century BC and is titled after its incipit, Shūtur eli sharrī ("Surpassing All Other Kings"). Only a few tablets of it have survived. The later "standard" version dates from the 13th to the 10th centuries BC and bears the incipit Sha naqba īmuru ("He who Saw the Deep", in modern terms:

"He who Sees the Unknown"). Approximately two thirds of this longer, twelve-tablet version have been recovered. Some of the best copies were discovered in the library ruins of the 7th-century BC Assyrian king Ashurbanipal.

The first half of the story discusses Gilgamesh, king of Uruk, and Enkidu, a wild man created by the gods to stop Gilgamesh from oppressing the people of Uruk. After Enkidu becomes civilized through sexual initiation with a prostitute, he travels to Uruk, where he challenges Gilgamesh to a test of strength.

Gilgamesh wins and the two become friends. Together, they make a six-day journey to the legendary Cedar Forest, where they plan to slay the Guardian, Humbaba the Terrible, and cut down the sacred Cedar.[2] Later they kill the Bull of Heaven, which the goddess Ishtar sends to punish Gilgamesh for spurning her advances. As a punishment for these actions, the gods sentence Enkidu to death.

In the second half of the epic, distress about Enkidu's death causes Gilgamesh to undertake a long and perilous journey to discover the secret of eternal life. He eventually learns that "Life, which you look for, you will never find. For when the gods created man, they let death be his share, and life withheld in their own hands".[3][4]

However, because of his great building projects, his account of Siduri's advice, and what the immortal man Utnapishtim told him about the Great Flood, Gilgamesh's fame survived his death. His story has been translated into many languages, and in recent years has featured in works of popular fiction.




History :

Distinct sources exist from over a 2000-year timeframe. The earliest Sumerian poems are now generally considered to be distinct stories, rather than parts of a single epic.[5]:45 They date from as early as the Third Dynasty of Ur (c. 2100 BC).[5]:41–42 The Old Babylonian tablets (c. 1800 BC),[5]:45 are the earliest surviving tablets for a single Epic of Gilgamesh narrative.[6] The older Old Babylonian tablets and later Akkadian version are important sources for modern translations, with the earlier texts mainly used to fill in gaps (lacunae) in the later texts. Although several revised versions based on new discoveries have been published, the epic remains incomplete.[7] Analysis of the Old Babylonian text has been used to reconstruct possible earlier forms of the Epic of Gilgamesh.[8] The most recent Akkadian version (c. 1200 BC), also referred to as the standard version, consisting of twelve tablets, was edited by Sin-liqe-unninni and was found in the Library of Ashurbanipal in Nineveh.

...this discovery is evidently destined to excite a lively controversy. For the present the orthodox people are in great delight, and are very much prepossessed by the corroboration which it affords to Biblical history. It is possible, however, as has been pointed out, that the Chaldean inscription, if genuine, may be regarded as a confirmation of the statement that there are various traditions of the deluge apart from the Biblical one, which is perhaps legendary like the rest
The New York Times, front page, 1872[9]
The Epic of Gilgamesh was discovered by Hormuzd Rassam in 1853. The central character of Gilgamesh was initially reintroduced to the world as "Izdubar", before the cuneiform logographs in his name could be pronounced accurately. The first modern translation was published in the early 1870s by George Smith.[10] Smith then made further discoveries of texts on his later expeditions, which culminated in his final translation which is given in his book The Chaldaean Account of Genesis (1880).

The most definitive modern translation is a two-volume critical work by Andrew George, published by Oxford University Press in 2003. A book review by the Cambridge scholar, Eleanor Robson, claims that George's is the most significant critical work on Gilgamesh in the last 70 years.[11] George discusses the state of the surviving material, and provides a tablet-by-tablet exegesis, with a dual language side-by-side translation. In 2004, Stephen Mitchell supplied a controversial version that takes many liberties with the text and includes modernized allusions and commentary relating to the Iraq War of 2003.[12][13]

The first direct Arabic translation from the original tablets was made in the 1960s by the Iraqi archaeologist Taha Baqir.[citation needed]

The discovery of artifacts (c. 2600 BC) associated with Enmebaragesi of Kish, mentioned in the legends as the father of one of Gilgamesh's adversaries, has lent credibility to the historical existence.






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« Last Edit: August 28, 2018, 10:10:54 am by patrick jane »
Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and REPENTING, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise - EPHESIANS 1:10-14 KJV - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -


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Re: Epic Poetry From Gilgamesh To The Cantos [And More?]
« Reply #10 on: September 05, 2018, 08:49:03 am »
OTHER ANCIENT CIVILIZATIONS - EPIC OF GILGAMESH

https://www.ancient-literature.com/other_gilgamesh.html

(Epic poem, anonymous, Sumerian/Mesopotamian/Akkadian, c. 20th - 10th Century BCE, about 1,950 lines)

Introduction | Synopsis | Analysis | Resources

“The Epic of Gilgamesh” is an epic poem from ancient Mesopotamia and among the earliest known literary writings in the world. It originated as a series of Sumerian legends and poems in cuneiform script dating back to the early 3rd or late 2nd millenium BCE, which were later gathered into a longer Akkadian poem (the most complete version existing today, preserved on 12 clay tablets, dates from the 12th to 10th Century BCE). It follows the story of Gilgamesh, the mythological hero-king of Uruk, and his half-wild friend, Enkidu, as they undertake a series of dangerous quests and adventures, and then Gilgamesh’s search for the secret of immortality after the death of his friend. It also includes the story of a great flood very similar to the story of Noah in "The Bible" and elsewhere.

Synopsis
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The story begins with the introduction of Gilgamesh, king of Uruk, two-thirds god and one-third human, blessed by the gods with strength, courage and beauty, and the strongest and greatest king who ever existed. The great city of Uruk is also praised for its glory and its strong brick walls.

However, the people of Uruk are not happy, and complain that Gilgamesh is too harsh and abuses his power by sleeping with their women. The goddess of creation, Aruru, creates a mighty wild-man named Enkidu, a rival in strength to Gilgamesh. He lives a natural life with the wild animals, but he soon starts bothering the shepherds and trappers of the area and jostles the animals at the watering hole. At the request of a trapper, Gilgamesh sends a temple prostitute, Shamhat, to seduce and tame Enkidu and, after six days and seven nights with the harlot, he is no longer just a wild beast who lives with animals. He soon learns the ways of men and is shunned by the animals he used to live with, and the harlot eventually persuades him to come to live in the city. Meanwhile, Gilgamesh has some strange dreams, which his mother, Ninsun, explains as an indication that a mighty friend will come to him.

The newly-civilized Enkidu leaves the wilderness with his consort for the city of Uruk, where he learns to help the local shepherds and trappers in their work. One day, when Gilgamesh himself comes to a wedding party to sleep with the bride, as is his custom, he finds his way blocked by the mighty Enkidu, who opposes Gilgamesh's ego, his treatment of women and the defamation of the sacred bonds of marriage. Enkidu and Gilgamesh fight each other and, after a mighty battle, Gilgamesh defeats Enkidu, but breaks off from the fight and spares his life. He also begins to heed what Enkidu has said, and to learn the virtues of mercy and humility, along with courage and nobility. Both Gilgamesh and Enkidu are transformed for the better through their new-found friendship and have many lessons to learn from each other. In time, they begin to see each other as brothers and become inseparable.

Years later, bored with the peaceful life in Uruk and wanting to make an everlasting name for himself, Gilgamesh proposes to travel to the sacred Cedar Forest to cut some great trees and kill the guardian, the demon Humbaba. Enkidu objects to the plan as the Cedar Forest is the sacred realm of the gods and not meant for mortals, but neither Enkidu not the council of elders of Uruk can convince Gilgamesh not to go. Gilgamesh’s mother also complains about the quest, but eventually gives in and asks the sun-god Shamash for his support. She also gives Enkidu some advice and adopts him as her second son.

On the way to the Cedar Forest, Gilgamesh has some bad dreams, but each time Enkidu manages to explain away the dreams as good omens, and he encourages and urges Gilgamesh on when he becomes afraid again on reaching the forest. Finally, the two heroes confront Humbaba, the demon-ogre guardian of the sacred trees, and a great battle commences. Gilgamesh offers the monster his own sisters as wives and concubines in order to distract it into giving away his seven layers of armour, and finally, with the help of the winds sent by the sun-god Shamash, Humbaba is defeated. The monster begs Gilgamesh for his life, and Gilgamesh at first pities the creature, despite Enkidu’s practical advice to kill the beast. Humbaba then curses them both, and Gilgamesh finally puts an end to it. The two heroes cut down a huge cedar tree, and Enkidu uses it to make a massive door for the gods, which he floats down the river.

Some time later, the goddess Ishtar (goddess of love and war, and daughter of the sky-god Anu) makes sexual advances to Gilgamesh, but he rejects her, because of her mistreatment of her previous lovers. The offended Ishtar insists that her father send the "Bull of Heaven" to avenge Gilgamesh’s rejection, threatening to raise the dead if he will not comply. The beast brings with it a great drought and plague of the land, but Gilgamesh and Enkidu, this time without divine help, slay the beast and offer its heart to Shamash, throwing the bull's hindquarters in the face of the outraged Ishtar.

The city of Uruk celebrates the great victory, but Enkidu has a bad dream in which the gods decide to punish Enkidu himself for the killing of the Bull of Heaven and Humbaba. He curses the door he made for the gods, and he curses the trapper he met, the harlot he loved and the very day that he became human. However, he regrets his curses when Shamash speaks from heaven and points out how unfair Enkidu is being. He also points out that Gilgamesh will become but a shadow of his former self if Enkidu were to die. Nevertheless, the curse takes hold and day after day Enkidu becomes more and more ill. As he dies, he describes his descent into the horrific dark Underworld (the "House of Dust"), where the dead wear feathers like birds and eat clay.

Gilgamesh is devasted by Enkidu’s death and offers gifts to the gods, in the hope that he might be allowed to walk beside Enkidu in the Underworld. He orders the people of Uruk, from the lowest farmer to the highest temple priests, to also mourn Enkidu, and orders statues of Enkidu to be built. Gilgamesh is so full of grief and sorrow over his friend that he refuses to leave Enkidu's side, or allow his corpse to be buried, until six days and seven nights after his death when maggots begin to fall from his body.

Gilgamesh is determined to avoid Enkidu's fate and decides to make the perilous journey to visit Utnapishtim and his wife, the only humans to have survived the Great Flood and who were granted immortality by the gods, in the hope of discovering the secret of everlasting life. The ageless Utnapishtim and his wife now reside in a beautiful country in another world, Dilmun, and Gilgamesh travels far to the east in search of them, crossing great rivers and oceans and mountain passes, and grappling and slaying monstrous mountain lions, bears and other beasts.

Eventually, he comes to the twin peaks of Mount Mashu at the end of the earth, from where the sun rises from the other world, the gate of which is guarded by two terrible scorpion-beings. They allow Gilgamesh to proceed when he convinces them of his divinity and his desperation, and he travels for twelve leagues through the dark tunnel where the sun travels every night. The world at the end of the tunnel is a bright wonderland, full of trees with leaves of jewels.

The first person Gilgamesh meets there is the wine-maker Siduri, who initially believes he is a murderer from his dishevelled appearance and attempts to dissuade him from his quest. But eventually she sends him to Urshanabi, the ferryman who must help him cross the sea to the island where Utnapishtim lives, navigating the Waters of Death, of which the slightest touch means instant death.

When he meets Urshanabi, though, he appears to be surrounded by a company of stone-giants, which Gilgamesh promptly kills, thinking them to be hostile. He tells the ferryman his story and asks for his help, but Urshanabi explains that he has just destroyed the sacred stones which allow the ferry boat to safely cross the Waters of Death. The only way they can now cross is if Gilgamesh cuts 120 trees and fashions them into punting poles, so that they can cross the waters by using a new pole each time and by using his garment as a sail.

Finally, they reach the island of Dilmun and, when Utnapishtim sees that there is someone else in the boat, he asks Gilgamesh who he is. Gilgamesh tells him his story and asks for help, but Utnapishtim reprimands him because he knows that fighting the fate of humans is futile and ruins the joy in life. Gilgamesh demands of Utnapishtim in what way their two situations differ and Utnapishtim tells him the story of how he survived the great flood.

Utnapishtim recounts how a great storm and flood was brought to the world by the god Enlil, who wanted to destroy all of mankind for the noise and confusion they brought to the world. But the god Ea forewarned Utnapishtim, advising him to build a ship in readiness and to load onto it his treasures, his family and the seeds of all living things. The rains came as promised and the whole world was covered with water, killing everything except Utnapishtim and his boat. The boat came to rest on the tip of the mountain of Nisir, where they waited for the waters to subside, releasing first a dove, then a swallow and then a raven to check for dry land. Utnapishtim then made sacrifices and libations to the gods and, although Enlil was angry that someone had survived his flood, Ea advised him to make his peace. So, Enlil blessed Utnapishtim and his wife and granted them everlasting life, and took them to live in the land of the gods on the island of Dilmun.

However, despite his reservations about why the gods should give him the same honour as himself, the hero of the flood, Utnapishtim does reluctantly decide to offer Gilgamesh a chance for immortality. First, though, he challenges Gilgamesh to stay awake for six days and seven nights, but Gilgamesh falls asleep almost before Utnapishtim finishes speaking. When he awakes after seven days of sleep, Utnapishtim ridicules his failure and sends him back to Uruk, along with the ferryman Urshanabi in exile.

As they leave, though, Utnapishtim's wife asks her husband to have mercy on Gilgamesh for his long journey, and so he tells Gilgamesh of a plant that grows at the very bottom of the ocean that will make him young again. Gilgamesh obtains the plant by binding stones to his feet to allow him to walk on the bottom of the sea. He plans to use the flower to rejuvenate the old men of the city of Uruk and then to use it himself. Unfortunately, he places the plant on the shore of a lake while he bathes, and it is stolen by a serpent, which loses its old skin and is thus reborn. Gilgamesh weeps at having failed at both opportunities to obtain immortality, and he disconsolately returns to the massive walls of his own city of Uruk.

In time, Gilgamesh too dies, and the people of Uruk mourn his passing, knowing that they will never see his like again.

The twelfth tablet is apparently unconnected with previous ones, and tells an alternative legend from earlier in the story, when Enkidu is still alive. Gilgamesh complains to Enkidu that he has lost some objects given to him by the goddess Ishtar when they fell in the Underworld. Enkidu offers to bring them back for him, and the delighted Gilgamesh tells Enkidu what he must, and must not, do in the Underworld in order to be sure of coming back.

When Enkidu sets off, however, he promptly forgets all this advice, and does everything he was told not to do, resulting in his being trapped in the Underworld. Gilgamesh prays to the gods to return his friend and, although Enlil and Suen do not even bother to reply, Ea and Shamash decide to help. Shamash cracks a hole in the earth and Enkidu jumps out of it (whether as a ghost or in reality is not clear). Gilgamesh questions Enkidu about what he has seen in the Underworld.

Analysis
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The earliest Sumerian versions of “The Epic of Gilgamesh” date from as early as the Third Dynasty of Ur (2150 - 2000 BCE), and are written in Sumerian cuneiform script, one of the earliest known forms of written expression. It relates ancient folklore, tales and myths and it is believed that there were many different smaller stories and myths that over time grew together into one complete work. The earliest Akkadian versions (Akkadian is a later, unrelated, Mesopotamian language, which also used the cuneiform writing system) are dated to the early 2nd millennium.

The so-called “standard” Akkadian version, consisting of twelve (damaged) tablets written by the Babylonian scribe Sin-liqe-unninni some time between 1300 and 1000 BCE, was discovered in 1849 in the library of the 7th Century BCE Assyrian king, Ashurbanipal, in Nineveh, the capital of the ancient Assyrian empire (in modern-day Iraq). It is written in standard Babylonian, a dialect of Akkadian that was only used for literary purposes. The original title, based on the opening words, was “He Who Saw the Deep” (“Sha naqba imuru”) or, in the earlier Sumerian versions, “Surpassing All Other Kings” (“Shutur eli sharri”).

Fragments of other compositions of the Gilgamesh story have been found in other places in Mesopotamia and as far away as Syria and Turkey. Five shorter poems in the Sumerian language ("Gilgamesh and Huwawa", "Gilgamesh and the Bull of Heaven", "Gilgamesh and Agga of Kish", "Gilgamesh, Enkidu and the Netherworld" and "Death of Gilgamesh”), more than 1,000 years older than the Nineveh tablets, have also been discovered. The Akkadian standard edition is the basis of most modern translations, with the older Sumerian versions being used to supplement it and fill in the gaps or lacunae.

The twelfth tablet, which is often appended as a kind of sequel to the original eleven, was most probably added at a later date and seems to bear little relation to the well-crafted and finished eleven tablet epic. It is actually a near copy of an earlier tale, in which Gilgamesh sends Enkidu to retrieve some objects of his from the Underworld, but Enkidu dies and returns in the form of a spirit to relate the nature of the Underworld to Gilgamesh. Enkidu’s pessimistic description of the Underworld in this tablet is the oldest such description known.

Gilgamesh might actually have been a real ruler in the late Early Dynastic II period (c. 27th Century BCE), a contemporary of Agga, king of Kish. The discovery of artifacts, dating back to around 2600 BCE, associated with Enmebaragesi of Kish (who is mentioned in the legends as the father of one of Gilgamesh's adversaries), has lent credibility to the historical existence of Gilgamesh. In Sumerian king lists, Gilgamesh is noted as the fifth king ruling after the flood.

According to some scholars, there are many parallel verses, as well as themes or episodes, which indicate a substantial influence of the “Epic of Gilgamesh” on the later Greek epic poem “The Odyssey”, ascribed to Homer. Some aspects of the "Gilgamesh" flood myth seem to be closely related to the story of Noah's ark in "The Bible" and the Qur’an, as well as similar stories in Greek, Hindu and other myths, down to the building of a boat to accommodate all life, its eventual coming to rest on the top of a mountain and the sending out of a dove to find dry land. It is also thought that the Alexander the Great myth in Islamic and Syrian cultures is influenced by the Gilgamesh story.

The “Epic of Gilgamesh” is essentially a secular narrative, and there no suggestion that it was ever recited as part of a religious ritual. It is divided into loosely connected episodes covering the most important events in the life of the hero, although there is no account of Gilgamesh’s miraculous birth or childhood legends.

The standard Akkadian version of the poem is written in loose rhythmic verse, with four beats to a line, while the older, Sumerian version has a shorter line, with two beats. It uses “stock epithets” (repeated common descriptive words applied to the main characters) in the same way as Homer does, although they are perhaps more sparingly used than in Homer. Also, as in many oral poetry traditions, there are word for word repetitions of (often fairly long) narrative and conversation sections, and of long and elaborate greeting formulae. A number of the usual devices of poetic embellishment are employed, including puns, deliberate ambiguity and irony, and the occasional effective use of similes.

Despite the antiquity of the work, we are shown, through the action, a very human concern with mortality, the search for knowledge and for an escape from the common lot of man. Much of the tragedy in the poem arises from the conflict between the desires of the divine part of Gilgamesh (from his goddess mother) and the destiny of the mortal man (his mortality conferred on him by his human father).

The wild man Enkidu was created by the gods both as a friend and companion for Gilgamesh, but also as a foil for him and as a focus for his excessive vigour and energy. Interestingly, Enkidu’s progression from wild animal to civilized city man represents a kind of biblical “Fall” in reverse, and an allegory of the stages by which man reaches civilization (from savagery to pastoralism to city life), suggesting that the early Babylonians may have been social evolutionists.


Resources
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English translation (Looklex Encyclopaedia): http://looklex.com/e.o/texts/religion/gilgamesh01.htm





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Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection, the gospel of our salvation, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -
Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and REPENTING, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise - EPHESIANS 1:10-14 KJV - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -


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Re: Epic Poetry From Gilgamesh To The Cantos [And More?]
« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2018, 08:24:30 am »


https://theologyforums.com/index.php?threads/how-poetry-quiets-the-%E2%80%98pandemonium-of-blab%E2%80%99.4175/#post-63682

How Poetry Quiets the ‘Pandemonium of Blab’


Poet Christian Wiman helps us tune our ears to silence, so God's voice won't be lost in the noise.

If I could, I would give this review a flashing, neon title. I would aim on it a bright and roving spotlight. I would print it up like a recruitment poster, pointing finger and all, because I WANT YOU, yes you, to read this book.

You’re not that interested in art? Poetry isn’t really your thing? Your stack of books to read is already too high? Make those apologies, and I will only press my point harder. It is precisely because there are too many voices calling for our attention—too many books on our bedside tables, too many apps fired up on our screens—that we, as people of faith, should tune our ears to silence. Poets, in particular, help us do exactly that. Only when the “pandemonium of blab—ceases,” Christian Wiman writes, can we “hear—and what some of us hear … is a still, small voice.”

Poetry depends on silence. It depends on the word not written, the pause of line break or comma, the white space on the page. If you are intrigued by the silence that poems can open up in and around words when those words are placed with artful precision and concision, you could dive right in to the quiet rhythms of T. S. Eliot’s quartets, Seamus Heaney’s metaphors, or Mary Oliver’s epiphanies. I suggest beginning with He Held Radical Light, the latest offering from Wiman, a poet, editor, and, most recently, divinity school professor.

Pressing into the Silence


He Held Radical Light is a book-length essay woven of spiritual memoir, literary criticism, and lyric poetry. It demonstrates with intelligence, honesty, and humor how vital poetry can be for any exploration of faith, an argument the subtitle (“The Art of Faith, the Faith of Art”) makes succinctly, as if it, too, were a kind of poem. This is not a book about art and faith, as if one or the other could be peeled away and considered singly. Instead, this book suggests that the field of imagination is one of the most significant places where the divine and the mortal can meet. If that is true, who among us would refuse to travel there merely because we have always found poetry “difficult” or life has become “too busy” for the poetry we once loved?

Wiman is worth listening to because he is himself an accomplished poet and, thanks in part to a decade at the helm of Poetry magazine, he is intimately acquainted with the lives and the works of so many of the best poets of the last century. With Wiman as our guide, we witness his highly personal, sometimes surprising encounters with poets—among them Heaney and Oliver—and what those encounters reveal about the relationship between the life (and faith) of the artist and the art itself. We are also shown how Wiman reads poems, thus becoming more perceptive readers ourselves without any heavy-handed lessons in “how to read a poem.”

But Wiman is also worth listening to because he is a dying poet and a dying man. He is dying in the sense that we are, each of us, dying, but his dying has more urgency and more pain: In 2005, on his 39th birthday, Wiman was diagnosed with an incurable form of blood cancer. Since then, as he has recounted in his earlier memoir, My Bright Abyss, he has undergone hospitalizations, chemotherapies, and even a bone marrow transplant. While neither of his unconventional memoirs offers much medical detail, they offer enough to understand that a poet who can feel his own cells wreaking havoc is a poet for whom the reality of death is more real than it is for most of us.

Why does this matter? It matters because, as Wiman writes, “Resurrection is a fiction and a distraction to anyone who refuses to face the reality of death.” I claimed this book could tune our ears to silence, but I might have said it could tune our ears to what Wiman calls the “final silence” of death. I’m sure you understand why I buried this analogy beneath five full paragraphs. Who among us is eager to confront the prospect of our own demise? The answer to this question goes far in explaining our collective addiction to the “pandemonium of blab.”

But for the faithful seeker willing to press into the silence, or for the one who has had silence pressed upon his or her self by diagnosis or despair, Wiman is a relatable artist-guide. The memoir elements of this book, peppered with honest self-deprecation and confession, insure that Wiman is no poet on a pedestal. He is too human for that, too mortal as well, and he has accepted the painful truth that even his poems are mortal. He recounts the “galactic chill” he felt in his soul when, at the age of 38, he heard his friend and our 14th poet laureate, Donald Hall, casually mention, “I was thirty-eight when I realized not a word I wrote was going to last.” This book asks us to consider that not only will our bodies die but so will much (perhaps all?) of the work of our hands. If poets go on writing, if we go on working and creating, then it must be for some other reason than securing some portion of immortality.

An epigraph from Spanish poet Juan Ramón Jiménez introduces the notion of the poet as spiritual guide on page one: “The world does not need to come from a god. For better or worse, the world is here. But it does need to go to one (where is he?), and that is why the poet exists.” In our day, religion and science both seem fixated on origins. Wiman’s book implies that this fixation is a distraction from a much more pertinent and personal question: Where am I headed? Wiman claims, “One either lives toward God or not.” He gives that simple statement the power of poetic refrain by repeating it twice in one prose paragraph.

Poetry Is Not Enough
Some readers might find Wiman’s definition of faith too simplistic. Those for whom faith has more content might bristle when Wiman, referring to speculation about the poet Wallace Stevens and a deathbed conversion to Catholicism, writes, “I yawn just pondering it.” For Wiman, the “creative faith” of a poem like “The Planet on the Table” is “enough,” though he is careful to add that the poem is enough “because it enacts and acknowledges its own insufficiency.” For Wiman, the weakness or failure of poetry can become a “lens” with the potential to reveal an ultimate spiritual truth and a final spiritual reality that the poem can only ever suggest in glimmering moments that collude with eternity but never encompass, explain, or define it.

Though Wiman does not often invoke the names Jesus or Christ, and then only to push against the highly familiar ways most American Christians use those names, he is absolutely concerned with the content of faith. Too many of the poets he reads, admires, and shares with us in this book have a faith in the art itself that Wiman finds completely inadequate. “Art is not enough,” he writes, and again, “poetry is not enough” because “at some point you need a universally redemptive activity. You need grace that has nothing to do with your own efforts.” Poetry matters, not because it saves, but because it can help us perceive the ultimate reality of a saving grace that lies not above, beneath, or even beyond the experience of death, but somehow within it.

If we as Christian believers already feel ourselves well acquainted with this amazing grace, does the art of poetry have less to offer us? On this question, Wiman speaks persuasively not only as a dying man but as a living one. Since his diagnosis, he has married, become a father, found faith, written more poems, and grieved the deaths of poets, young and old, whom he admired and whom he called friend. He has known the “tangle of pain and praise.” He has experienced the dying that leads to life.

A poem by A. R. Ammons suggests that life is found in God but God is found in death, and Wiman hears in it echoes of Dietrich Bonhoeffer (“When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.”), and in Bonhoeffer he hears echoes of Jesus himself (“Whoever would save his life will lose it …”). You and I have read Christ’s words in our Bibles countless times, we have heard them spoken in our churches Sunday after Sunday, yet in their familiarity they risk becoming only one more sound in the general noise of our distracted lives. Heaney, as Wiman reminds us, once claimed that poetry “set the darkness echoing.” The paradox of poetry becomes the paradox of Christianity: In death, we receive the Word of life. Having read He Held Radical Light, my ears are freshly tuned to hear and to respond to Christ’s liberating, devastating invitation.




Christie Purifoy lives with her husband and four children in a farmhouse in Southeastern Pennsylvania. She is the author of Roots and Sky: A Journey Home in Four Seasons (Revell) and the forthcoming Placemaker: Cultivating Places of Comfort, Beauty, and Peace (Zondervan).




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Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection, the gospel of our salvation, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -
Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and REPENTING, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise - EPHESIANS 1:10-14 KJV - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -


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Re: Epic Poetry From Gilgamesh To The Cantos [And More?]
« Reply #12 on: November 22, 2018, 08:27:45 pm »
NO ONE KNOWS THE DAY OR THE HOUR?


At the Time of the End, the wise shall understand. Dan 12:10

Understanding the expression "No man knows the day or hour" is not possible
by simply taking the English translation literally, because in the book of
Daniel and the Book of Revelation, we are given EXACT descriptions of
timing, relative to KEY events - such as the shutting down of the altar
sacrifices in Jerusalem at the MID-POINT of the 70th week. Dan 9:27

Jesus was asked, "When shall these things be?" Matt 24:3

His answer ties us in to a very specific event (The Abomination of
Desolation) which can be measured on our calendars: "When you therefore
shall see the Abomination Of Desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet,
stand in the holy place, (whoever reads, let him understand:)..." Matt 24:15.

It is now clear that "no man knows the day or hour" does NOT mean "no man
knows the day or hour" as we read it from a modern-day English perspective.

>From his book "Signs In the Heavens" by Avi Ben Mordechai, he devotes a
chapter to explaining what "no man knows the day or hour" truly means from
a rabbinical Hebraic perspective. It is a figure of speech.

The following chapter contains edited excerpts from Avi Ben Mordechai's
commentaries and builds on them aiming to explain that the Holy Bible does
in fact reveal the "day and hour" or "exact timing" of our Lord's Return.

No One Knows the Day or the Hour?

Christians over the centuries have separated themselves from their Hebraic
roots causing the misunderstanding of key Jewish biblical idioms. An idiom
is also a figure of speech. When Y'shua (Jesus) uttered His famous words
concerning the Messianic Era in Mattityahu (Matthew) 24:26,

"No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in Heaven, nor the Son, but
only the Father", He used a common Jewish figure of speech referring to a
specific Jewish Festival. In essence He was saying, "I am coming for My
Bride on such and such a day! Be watching!" What day could the Jewish idiom
be referring to? Keep reading!

HEBRAIC ROOTS

Y'shua HaMashiach (Jesus the Messiah) was Jewish and lived a
Torah-observant Jewish life. Evidence suggests that He communicated to His
audience in the Hebrew language, in Hebraic ways. What does it mean to
communicate in Hebraic ways?


It means to think and talk like a Jew. In Y'shua's day it meant to speak in the language and idioms of the day.
Those who heard the Lord speak knew what He was saying and usually what He was
alluding to unless He was speaking in parables, which had their own
analogies. Of course, today's generation of believers struggles to
understand His words and concepts.


Speaking, thinking and acting like the
Jewish Rabbi He was helped His mission in bringing the gospel message to
"the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Matt 15:24).

Y'shua was quoted in Mattityahu (Matthew) 8:11 as saying: "I say to you
that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places
at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the Kingdom of Heaven".

Since we are talking about Jewish idioms, have you ever considered the meaning of
these words? Specifically, our Lord used and confirmed common Jewish ideas
about the Day of the Lord - the millennium - and its relation to the Feast
of Sukkot (Tabernacles) in Z'kharyah 14.


In speaking, Y'shua referred to
the Festival and its traditional guests of honour, Avraham, Yitzchak and
Ya'acov, called the ushpizin (uoosh-piz-zin) or seven shepherds (exalted
guests), invited into every succah (tabernacle) at the Feast of Sukkot in
the fall of the year.

The seven shepherds in descending order are
1. Avraham (Abraham), 2. Yitzchak (Isaac), 3. Ya'acov (Jacob), 4. Mosheh
(Moses), 5. Aaron, 6. Yosef (Joseph) and 7. HaMelech David (King David).
By mentioning the feast and three of the seven shepherds,

His audience
immediately understood the allusion to the Messianic age - "Millennium" or
"Day" of the Lord.

"For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost" (Luke 19:10).
Again, in this simplistic phrase Y'shua, the Son of Miriyam and Yosef,
spoke of two things: His Deity (by calling Himself the subject of the
prophet Dani'el's vision) and His mission (by calling Himself the One God
Who spoke to Mosheh on Mount Sinai) as it is written in Dani'el and
Yechezk'el (Ezekiel):

In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was One like a Son of
Man, coming with the clouds of Heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days
and was led into His presence (Dani'el 7:13-14).

For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I Myself will search for My sheep
and look after them (Yechezk'el-Ezekiel 34:11ff).

In the Gospel narrative of Luke 23:31, Y'shua said: "For if men do these
things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?" In this
verse Y'shua points His audience, who had portions of the writings of the
Prophets memorized, to the verses in Yechezk'el (Ezekiel) 20:45 to 21:7.
Without question, Y'shua's hearers knew He referred to Chevlei HaMashiach
or Ya'acov's Trouble in the Great Tribulation and warned His audience that
what they do to Him in hardness of heart now, God will do to the nation in
judgement later.

Y'shua's encounter with Natan'el (Nathanael) is recorded in Yochanan (John)
1:47-48: When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, He said of him, "Here is a
true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false". "How do You know me?"
Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, "I saw you while you were still under the
fig tree before Philip called you".

Again, our Lord used a strong figure of speech pointing to a widely taught
Jewish expectation concerning the resurrection and the millennium. In
brief, He told Natan'el that he will be alive on the Last Day to inherit
the land promised to Avraham (Bereshith-Genesis 17:8). From Y'shua's words,
Natan'el understood he would participate in the resurrection since "that
Day" was yet future.


This is understood in the first century Jewish figure
of speech, "I saw you while you were still under the fig tree", which
refers to life and study of Torah in the millennium (Midrash Rabbah
Genesis, Rabbah Song of Songs).


Y'shua also told Natan'el that he is like
righteous Avraham who received his reward for trusting God. This is
understood because of the phrase, "Here is a true Israelite, in whom there
is nothing false". The millennial concept of the fig tree is found
throughout the Tanach including Z'kharyah 3:10:


"In that day each of you will invite his neighbor to sit under his vine and fig tree", declares the
LORD Almighty. For this reason Natan'el responded emphatically to Y'shua
and His words, saying: "Rabbi, you are the Son of God; You are the King of
Israel!"

God through HaMashiach Y'shua spoke to the Jews in many portions and in
many ways (Hebrews 1:1-2) relying upon known figures of speech, common
expectations and direct thoughts from Talmudic and Pharisaic teachings. The
concepts I addressed only scratch the surface, so-to-speak.


Every phrase
and word from the mouth of the Lord meant something to His audience. He
spoke with precision. With that as a basis, let us go on to one of the most
interesting Jewish figures of speech misunderstood by the Church over the
years. It concerns Y'shua's phrase,


"No one knows about that day or hour,
not even the angels in Heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father". In
context, He refers to the home-taking of His bride, the beginning of the
Messianic era and His millennial reign as King of kings over all the earth.
To understand this concept, we begin by examining its foundation.

ROSH HASHANAH

Chapter Five described the annual Jewish Festival of Trumpets or Rosh
HaShanah - the first day of the seventh month. A few themes linked to this
Jewish festival are resurrection, repentance, kingship, corronation and a
marriage feast.


This chapter shows another theme and convincing proof that
Rosh HaShanah is not only the start of "The Day of the Lord" (Millennium),
but is also the day of the resurrection! It has to do with the moon and its
29-day cycle of renewal.

In this period of slightly less than 30 days, the moon goes from darkness
to light and back to darkness again. This is not a haphazard occurrence
attributed to evolution or science.

God planned it for many reasons, one
being as a picture of resurrection and renewal. With each cycle of nearly
30 days the ancient rabbis understood that the moon was being reborn or
"born again" (Sefard siddur, Mussaf for Shabbat and Shabbat Rosh Chodesh,
p. 509 and 646-648).

NEW MOON

In Y'shua's day, the moon was so important that a Jewish festival was
proclaimed at the beginning of every month (Talmud Tractate Chaggigah 17b;
Shavuot 10a; Arachin 10b). This was called the New Moon Festival and in the
B'rit Chadashah, Rabbi Sha'ul (Paul) makes note of it (Colossians 2:16).
Even in the Tanach, King David provoked King Sha'ul (Saul) over it (1
Shmu'el-Samuel 20:5).


In the coming millennium the gate of the inner court
of the Temple facing east shall be opened on the new moon
(Yechezk'el-Ezekiel 46:1).


And finally in the millennium all nations will
celebrate the New Moon festival every month (Yeshayahu-Isaiah 66:23). It is
obvious from the Hebrew Scriptures that in the millennium God has no plans
to do away with His system.

Since it is so important, exactly what is a new moon? It is the opposite of
a full moon. Every month the moon goes through a complete cycle of renewal
called Rosh Chodesh, the head or beginning of the renewed month. Twelve
times a year on Rosh Chodesh, the moon always starts off with its disk
being very dark to the naked eye.


Over the course of 15 days it gets
brighter and brighter until it finally reaches a full white-faced disk or
full moon. Over the next 15 days it becomes darker and darker and finally
becomes invisible to the naked eye again.

The ancient rabbis saw a great lesson in this. Just as the moon has no
light of its own but receives its light from the sun, so we too have no
light of our own and must receive it from God.


As the moon goes through a
near 30-day cycle of dark to light to dark, so we need constant spiritual
renewal and repentance. Like the moon, we too must be reborn or "born
again" into HaMashiach and constantly renewed through repentance. This is
why God called it a faithful witness in the sky (Mizmor-Psalm 89:37).

If the moon is so important to God, why do we pay so little attention to
it? We have lost touch with God's faithful witness in the sky. But Y'shua
and the people of His day never lost touch with it. And as I previously
noted, not only was the new moon necessary for the Jewish calendar, it was
also a monthly festival celebrated with a feast fit for a king!


So, when
Y'shua said His famous words in Mattityahu-Matthew 24:36, it had
far-reaching implications. Here are the words of Y'shua in a few different
translations:

But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but
my Father only. (KJV)

No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the
Son, but only the Father. (NIV) But of that day and hour knoweth no one,
not even the angels of heaven, neither the Son, but the Father only. (ASV)
About the exact time, however, and the hour, none knows - not even the
messengers of Heaven; but My Father alone. (Fenton Modern English
Translation)

Failing to think like Y'shua and taking phrases out of Jewish context can
lead one to misunderstand His words. For example, in many places of the
B'rit Chadashah Y'shua knew the future and talked about it openly. In one
instance He warned His talmidim (disciples) about their future saying,
"See, I have told you ahead of time" (Mattityahu-Matthew 24:25). His
context concerned the tribulation, the destruction of the Temple, the rise
and fall of false messiahs (antichrists), etc.


If He knew the future in
Mattityahu 24:25, and the context concerns the Day of Trouble, why would He
suddenly speak as though He did not know the future in the same context
just 11 verses later in Mattityahu 24:36? Was He confused? Or was He making
perfect sense in light of the customs of the Jews?

Since the subject of our discussion is the new moon and figures of speech,
realize the phrase, "Of that day and hour no man knows" refers to the
sanctification or setting apart of the new moon. Without this
sanctification, the Jews had no way of determining God's "appointed times"
or moedim.

Twelve times a year a new Jewish month (Rosh Chodesh) was announced to the
people. We have no system like it today. We look at a calendar to determine
the first of the month; the Jews, however, looked at the moon.


This system
of chronology was given to the Jews to know precisely when the Holy
festivals (moedim) would fall (there are still eight of them; seven
appointed times and Shabbat). The moon was the faithful Jewish calendar or
witness in the sky and 12 times a year was sanctified as the basis of the
Jewish stellar calendar.

GOD'S APPOINTED TIMES

Because the moon was so important for Jewish date - setting, the authorities
in charge of announcing the new moon in Y'rushalayim took great care to
ensure the first day of the month was announced on time. To correctly
announce the first day of the month, established by the new moon, was one
of the Sanhedrin's greatest responsibilities. They had to ensure the people
knew when the first of the month began 12 times a year! Therefore God said
to the leaders of Israel:

These are the appointed times of the Lord, holy convocations which you
shall proclaim at the times appointed for them (Vayikrah-Leviticus 23:4).

In other words, God gave the Sanhedrin authority to announce and sanctify
the new moon to the people. Its proclamation on earth was supported by God
in Heaven (c.f. Mattityahu 18:18-20 where the Jewish context supports a
believers' Sanhedrin as seen in Acts 15).


As soon as the new moon was
announced, the first day of the month began. Once the beginning of the new
month was established, the festivals and weekly Shabbats for the upcoming
month were sanctified for observance. In Hebrew, those observances have
always been called "appointed  times" or moedim, literally "a sacred and
set time".


From God's perspective, the appointed times belong to Him
(Midrash Rabbah Numbers, Vol 2.21.25, p. 852) and no one has the authority
to change the celebration of an appointed time.


To do so was a serious
matter and great sin. Appointed times had to be kept because of their
Messianic implications.

Further in Vayikrah (Leviticus) 23:4, notice the phrase, "holy
convocation". The phrase in Hebrew is mikraw kodesh, better translated,
"holy convocation and rehearsal". In other words, God's appointed times are
actually "holy rehearsals" set apart to reflect events in the Messianic
era. God said to the people,


"Pay attention! On this day I am going to do
something! Wake-up! The Jews were to know and practice all of God's mikraot
or holy convocations. This is the essence of Rav Sha'ul's words that the
Shabbat, new moons and festivals, "are a shadow of things to come; the body
of Mashiach" (Colossians 2:17).

Twice a year, in the spring and fall, there were several appointed times
and specific days of holy convocation dedicated to the Lord. The new moon
was the key in being able to fulfill those set times, holy convocations and
rehearsals.


For example, when the new moon was announced on the first day
of Nisan, also called Aviv, the people knew when to observe the holy
convocations and set times of the 10th (Shemot-Exodus 12:3), 14th and 15th
(Shemot-Exodus 12:6; Bamidbar-Numbers 33:3), 16th (Vayikrah-Leviticus
23:15), and finally the 21st.


In the same way, when the new moon was
announced on the first day of Tishri also called Ethanim, the people knew
when to observe the Holy convocations of the 1st  (Vayikrah-Leviticus
23:23), 10th  (Vayikrah-Leviticus 23:26), 15th  (Vayikrah-Leviticus 23:39),
and 22nd  (Vayikrah-Leviticus 23:36).


Thus from the announcement of the new
moon to the festival dates which followed, it was only a matter of counting
the right number of days. In a moment you will understand how this applies
to the phrase that Y'shua spoke concerning His coming again.

THE SANHEDRIN AND THE TWO WITNESSES

The Mishnah, also referred to as the Oral Law, dealt with the legal
elements of daily Jewish religious life, in Hebrew called halachah. In the
treasure of the first and second century halachah we find many explanations
to help us understand the Torah particularly in Y'shua's day since it was
still oral then.


In volume two called "moed" or festival, tractate Rosh
HaShanah teaches us about the Sanhedrin and its selection process of two
witnesses who would tell us when the new moon arrived. Once a month the
Sanhedrin discussed when to proclaim the new moon. They did this through
the agency of two witnesses, the element of all legal transactions in
Judaism.

One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any
sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the
mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.   Deut 19:15

The men were important because by their witness, Israel celebrated God's
appointed times. They had to be of good character and were always treated
with great honour.


They had special privileges such as authorization to
ride into Y'rushalayim on horseback on the Shabbat to bring the good news
of the new moon festivities! The men had special status because they were
the confirmation that Y'hudah (Judaea)  depended on for the correct timing
of the new month and the festivals.

Rosh HaShanah Chapter 2, Mishnah 5 reads: There was a large court in
Jerusalem called Beth Ya'azek. There all the witnesses used to assemble and
the Beth Din used to examine them. They used to entertain them lavishly
there so that they should have an inducement to come. (The witnesses were
allowed to break the Shabbat travel restrictions for this one purpose lest
they might be reluctant to come and give the essential evidence of the
sighting of the new moon).

Continuing in Chapter 2, Mishnah 6: How do they test the witnesses? The
pair who arrive first are tested first. The senior of them is brought in
and they say to him, tell us how you saw the moon - in front of the sun or
behind the sun? To the north of it or the south? How big was it, and in
which direction was it inclined?


And how broad was it? If he says (he saw
it) in front of the sun, his evidence is rejected. After that they would
bring in the second and test him.


If their accounts tallied, their evidence
was accepted, and the other pairs were only questioned briefly, not because
they were required at all, but so that they should not be disappointed,
(and) so that they should not be dissuaded from coming.

In qualifying the witnesses, the Sanhedrin used the following criteria:
They never arrived at the same time.
They were never questioned at the same time.
There were always two new witnesses each month.

In short, the two qualified witnesses usually stood before the Nassi or
President of the Sanhedrin (Jewish High Court) to give account of the
moon's appearance prior to its becoming total dark (Moed Rosh HaShanah,
Chapter 3, Mishnah 1).


Just before the moon's disk enters total darkness,
there are tiny slivers of white on the edges of the waning disk. These were
called the "horns" of the moon.

Correctly sighting the "horns" (on the
waning crescent) determined the beginning of the new month. Once the two
witnesses were qualified and questioned, if the President (who had
knowledge of astronomy) was convinced their observation was accurate, he
publicly sanctified the start of the new month.

After careful scrutiny to determine the official arrival of the new moon,
the Nassi or President of the Sanhedrin proclaimed Rosh Chodesh with the
words: "Sanctified", and all the people repeat after him, "Sanctified,
sanctified". After the proclamation, the Sanhedrin ordered watchmen on the
nearby hillsides to light fires and thus inform the Jews in all of Y'hudah
(Judaea), Shomron (Samaria), Egypt, Babylon and the galut (diaspora) that
the new month had begun. That started the festival of the New Moon and
counting of the next 29- days to the next new month proclamation.

Again, once the Sanhedrin set Rosh Chodesh, or the beginning of the new
month by sighting the new moon, the rest of the festivals were calculated.
However, the seventh month, Tishri, was particularly important because it
was the only month that had a holy convocation or appointed time on the
first day of the month.


This posed a unique problem. The first day of
Tishri was the appointed time called Rosh HaShanah, the Feast of Trumpets
(Vayikrah-Leviticus 23:24). Yet no one could begin observing the festival
until they heard those famous words from the President of the Sanhedrin,
"Sanctified!"

No one in Israel could plan for the first day of the seventh month Tishri,
called Yom Teruah or the Feast of Trumpets (also called Rosh HaShanah).
When they knew how many days to count to a festival, that would be easy.
But:

HOW COULD THEY PLAN FOR A FESTIVAL THAT THEY DID NOT KNOW AT WHAT DAY OR
HOUR IT WOULD PUBLICALLY BE ANNOUNCED AND THUS BEGIN?

This was unique to Rosh HaShanah and dependent upon the testimony of the
two witnesses. Prophetically, we are informed of two important witnesses
during the Great Tribulation:

And I will give power unto My Two Witnesses, and they will prophesy 1260
days, clothed in sackcloth.
Rev 11:3

Of course, anyone could look up into the twilight or early morning sky and,
if they looked hard enough, see the new moon or at least its "horns". And
certainly an astute observer knew when about 29- days were completed since
the previous Rosh Chodesh.

But recall, ONLY THE SANHEDRIN NASSI had the
authority to proclaim the first of Tishri, which was already established as
a technical procedure.


Once proclaimed, the Feast of Trumpets (Rosh
HaShanah) commenced. Until that public announcement by the Nassi, everyone
had to wait before they could begin the observance of the festival. No one
could begin the festival beforehand!


Thus, we can more clearly see the
analogy Jesus made with His words: "But of that day and hour knoweth no
man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only" was in regards to
this important festival of Rosh HaShanah.

**********************************************************************

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Non-Jew in the Rich Hebraic Heritage of our Faith.

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