Sunday, December 11, 2005

Starr on the Gilgamesh and the Iliad

A reader asked me to elaborate on my brief mention of Starr’s comparison between the two epics. Here are some excerpts of his analysis:
…”Monsters are prominent in the plot of Gilgamesh’s adventures, and the appeal is rather to emotion and passion than to reason, as is that of the Iliad.”

… “The individualism of Homer’s heroes, their ability to accept human fate while yet enjoying life, their passionate curiosity and delight in the physical world – these qualities which did not exist in early, god-fearing Mesopotamia.”…
Now I don’t know that you could validly jump from epics of 3,000 and 4,000 years ago to an analysis of modern cultures, but comparing the two epics would, I think, be more fruitful than just starting with the Iliad.

Of course Hudgins’ article is much worse than just being nonsensical, it purposely evades numerous differences, beginning with the fact that the Greeks of Homer’s time didn’t reject reason (indeed they took the first major step towards its discovery), while modern Islamists explicitly and categorically reject it to embrace an all-consuming faith. Hudgins then attempts to further appease the irrationalists by pretending that the essential similarity between cultures is brutality, i.e. the manner by which they engage in war! And from this trivial and incidental similarity, while remaining firmly oblivious to all the vitally important differences, he is hopeful that Islam will take the path followed by the early Greeks! As Diana would say: “the mind boggles”.


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