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The Epic of Gilgamesh 2nd Edition

3.9 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0865163522
ISBN-10: 0865163529
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Editorial Reviews


Epic of Gilgamesh is an excellent achievement. It makes this great work accessible to college and general readers. -- Kevin Herbert, Professor of Classics, Washington University

I welcome this edition of The Epic of Gilgamesh for making accessible to modern readers the poetry and the drama, presented in heroic terms of life, love, friendship and, finally the recognition and acceptance of the ultimate reality of human existence. It is one of the great epic tales surviving from the ancient world of 'The Land Between-the-Two-Rivers,' Mesopotamia, and though incomplete, reflects an ancient range of human experience and emotion not so far removed from our own...

The epic states, 'When the gods created mankind, they allotted death to mankind, keeping life eternal for themselves.'? Yet while death is inevitable, Jackson's lyrical and moving presentation gives renewed life to this wonderful tale of Gilgamesh. -- Robert D. Biggs, The Oriental Institute, The University of Chicago

The Great Books Foundation has declared The Epic of Gilgamesh a classic...The Bolchazy-Carducci edition has been adopted by Great Books Foundation.

Gilgamesh permits us to tie the ancient Near East and the ancient Mediterranean together like nothing else: no other document makes so clear the symbolism of the snake or the divine bull, or the situation of temple prostitution, or even the background of Plato's Aphrodite Pandemos and Aphrodite Ourania. They are all here in Gilgamesh, plain as day. These unifying tie-ins make it logical to use Gilgamesh as a lead-off text in a classical mythology course.

The Bolchazy-Carducci edition, more readable than its predecessors, makes it practicable. Students liked it, and for the professor it is one light bulb after another. -- Thomas N. Winter, University of Nebraska

The text is excellent in its clarity of story line and motif. -- Jim Caputo, Instructor of English, Latin, Humanities, Regis University

With Kapheim's remarkable woodcuts that go so well with Jackson's powerful poetry, and with Biggs' excellent introduction, including those fascinating photos of cuneiform tablets, ziggurats, and cylinder seals, the paperback is a steal... It should be an ideal textbook for a college (or high school) course in mythology or epic literature... --Anne Groton and Jim May, St. Olaf's College

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)

Product Details

  • Paperback: 100 pages
  • Publisher: Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers; 2nd edition (July 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0865163529
  • ISBN-13: 978-0865163522
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #162,854 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I would draw the attention of readers to the story of the flood, as related by the Book of Gilgamesh.In particular, "for six days and nights the wind blew, torrent and tempest and flood raged together like warring hosts. When the seventh day dawned the storm from the south subsided, the sea grew calm, the flood was stilled: I looked at the face of the world and there was silence; all mankind was turned to clay. The surface of the sea stretched flat as a rooftop." This is not a river flood. This is the breach of the Black Sea basin - then inhabited - by the ocean waters of the Mediterranean Sea - as is attested by recent geological documentation. Fresh water mussels are succeeded by salt water mussels at precisely 5500 BC: also, the remains of fresh water mussels occur only at great depths where fresh water lakes previously existed. Only fishermen with boats could have survived the flood when the Bosporus was breached. The historical implications of this geological cataclism have not yet been absorbed into the thoughts of philologists in search of the origins of the Indo-European languages nor by historians of the pre-history of the Middle East. I believe this information adds to an appreciation of the significance of this early epic, insomuch as it incorporated an oral legend of an actual geological event two thousand years after the fact. Lest the survival of such remembrances in the oral tradition be doubted, the Oregon Indians preserved the oral tradition of the eruption of Mount Mazuma (Crater Lake) eight thousand years afterward.
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By A Customer on April 4, 2004
Format: Paperback
Danny Jackson's Gilgamesh is the best translation out there for 21st century American readers. It captures the essence of what may be the first and most important work of fiction in human history, yet his modern language brings the story alive in a way no previous translator has done. He does this by treating it as what it was written to be: the ancient world's version of a modern blockbuster movie, not a dry-as-dust study in how boring a professor can make literature or history. (For those of you who wonder, I have a Ph.D. in history from the University of California, and a love of and healthy respect for both literature and history, which I teach.) I was surprised to read the review from Tempe, AZ (a prof at AZ State?) who denigrated Jackson's work. I have taught Gilgamesh at four separate colleges and Universities over 14 years, and the one universal complaint I got from students with other translations was: this is boring! The only translation students unanimously enjoyed, actually read all the way through, and learned from, was Jackson's. I first used his text in 1993, and it has been a priceless part of my teaching arsenal ever since. My students love it. I recently switched teaching jobs and found myself stuck with my predecessor's choice of Gilgamesh texts: Sanders' translation. My students, predictably, found it obtuse, dry, and lifeless. I am now set to teach Gilgamesh again this fall, and using Jackson, I know the story will be well received AND useful to my students. BOTTOM LINE: If you want to read a smashing, exciting, and readable heroic epic from the dawn of time, the first ever written, buy Danny Jackson's translation of Gilgamesh. It is the best.
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By A Customer on September 24, 2001
Format: Paperback
I teach Gilgamesh every year in my Freshman Honors Seminar, and it has always been one of my and my students' favorite texts. That is, until the anthology I was using put out a new edition and switched from David Ferry's to Jackson's translation. I found that Jackson managed to obscure (or just ignore) most of the important themes of the work. He gives his reader no sense of the bond between Gilgamesh and Enkidu; his account of Enkidu "becoming human" through his interactions w/ the temple harlot focuses almost completely on sex, with no hint of Enkidu's growing self-consciousness. Next year I'm bagging the anthology and going w/ a self-contained copy of Ferry.
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Format: Paperback
Jackson, a former seminarian, in his preface wonders why he had never been given any information on Gilgamesh written long before Judeo-Christian literature. Such a relief to read this because I've been wondering the same thing. I have just recently discovered Gilgamesh, and it is hard to understand why, after a lifetime of being bombarded with bible literature, I have to accidentally encounter a book that contains many similar concepts as the Bible, but predates it by more than 2000 years.
Reading the epic by Jackson has added an important dimension in my enlightening travels through the different Gilgamesh epics by Maureen Kovacs, N.K. Sanders, John Gardner & John Maier and the first epic I read on the Internet by "Robert's Stuff".
Jackson's Gilgamesh is engaging for its use of adjectives that are reminiscent of my Catholic background. Some examples: "sacred places ...sacrilege" (p 3), "miraculous plant" (p 88), "My god ...My god ... My god (p 94).
Hopefully more people will become aware of this early literature. I've encountered so few who have even heard of Gilgamesh.
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Format: Paperback
I first sought out this book when I was studying the story of the flood from the book of Genesis in a New Testament course. I heard that the theme of a great flood of the world had appeared in many different cultures across time - Native American Indian, Ancient Roman, German, Scandinavian, Chinese, and Hindi myths, to name a few, all recount a similar myth of a great deluge that was sent down to wipe out mankind. The Epic of Gilgamesh is an ancient Babylonian tale that tells of the adventures of its two heroes, Enkidu and Gilgamesh. The Babylonian flood myth is but one part of their journey which takes place toward the end.

This edition includes beautiful original illustrations, pictures of relevant Babylonian artifacts, necessary background information, literary discussion, and glossary of names and places in back. This particular translation itself is simple to understand while retaining the original intention as best as possible. The story itself is easy to understand and the more thoughtful reader will find many themes for further analysis. Passages of the epic are easily located; it is labeled by tablet, column, and line number.
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