When an ordinary guy with no religious background, reads Genesis, he uses his ordinary reading habits to help him figure out what the story is all about. Today, he looks for the connecting thread.
Any careful reader, even an unbeliever, can discern the literal meaning of Scripture. Today we meet Joe Schmoe, ordinary guy, and introduce him to the Bible.
As we return to our series comparing accounts of the Great Flood, we need to recognize that Sacred Scripture hides its greatest truths from profane eyes.
Drawing from the same fund of mythology, different poets can tell very different stories, as we've seen when examining accounts of the Great Flood in both Ovid's Metamorphoses and the Epic of Gilgamesh.
Metamorphoses is a poem about the inevitability of change; the story of the Great Flood in Book I suggests that humans, like stone, are built to withstand constant change.
Looking at the immediate context in which Ovid's flood story occurs, we see that, above the will of the gods, a higher destiny seems to be at work to preserve humankind.
Ovid's Metamorphoses emphasize the eternal theme of love amid the constant upheavals of history. In this context, he tells the story of the Great Flood.
Primative as the Epic of Gilgamesh may seem to us today, the rich and powerful still are tempted to grasp at godlike immortality -- at the risk of losing their humanity.
When we look at the flood account in the Epic of Gilgamesh carefully, we see that it is a warning against grasping at immortality. Living forever is not all it is cracked up to be.
The story of the Great Flood in the Epic of Gilgamesh is a tale within a tale, a man who was given immortality dissuading another from seeking the same.
To read such as the Epic of Gilgamesh with understanding, we start by considering what kind of literary work it is: Rhetorical context.
A recent movie reminded me that there are many ancient myths about the Great Flood, and each one communicates a different vision of man and his place in the cosmos.