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After LivesA Guide to Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory$
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John Casey

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195092950

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195092950.001.0001

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Mesopotamia and Israel

Mesopotamia and Israel

(p.43) 3 Mesopotamia and Israel
After Lives

John Casey (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the Epic of Gilgamesh and the Book of Job. The former, which should be considered as a tragic drama and at the same time an example of wisdom literature, can be seen as an example of ancient humanism, for it both explores a temptation to hope for immortality, and rebukes that temptation, depicting it as a failure of true human wisdom, and a failure to understand the rational consolations of life. The Book of Job is also a tragic drama, with absurdist elements, which does not attempt to solve intellectually the problem of evil and injustice, but to confront it. Both works present imaginatively experience which has a depth of reality that in effect excludes hope for immortality.

Keywords:   Gilgamesh, wisdom literature, humanism, mortality, rational consolation, Job, tragic drama, justice, absurdism

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