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A Comparison Sumerian and Hebrew Views of the Afterlife For centuries religion has been a significant and intricate part of human societies Some would say that religion is as important to mankind as food and water While food and water keeps us goingreligion provides a reason and purpose for that life In short religion is mans attempt to understand the world around them and their place in it Furthermore religious values maintain order and a code of how mankind should behave among their peers and families As religion is man-made it can reveal much about a societys standards and sense of self So religion is both a shaper as well as a reflection of society The ancient Sumerian and Hebrew societies both held detailed religious beliefs which shaped their different perspectives Each society also under the canopy of their own religion had a belief in and perception of the afterlife Hense their different beliefs in that afterlife can be seen as an explanation for the ways in which they perceived and lived life The Sumarians pursued life with voracious thirst and believed in enjoying life to the fullest savoring all human pleasures On the other hand the Hebrew religion stressed the importance of traditions and accordance with repressive laws that pleased their God believing that their real life was after death in heaven The Epic of Gilgamesh and the Old Testament of the Bible provide good sources for the comparison of these different civilizations perceptions of life and death The Epic of Gilgamesh presents a clear picture of Sumerian religious beliefs Similar to Greek mythology the Sumarians believed in many imperfect gods These gods were not flawless or unconditionally loving but could be playful mischievous fickle and even unfair in their dealings with mankind So in temperament these gods were human-like and not always dependable Furthermore there was no promising afterlife for Sumarians In The Epic of Gilgamesh Enkindu upon his death
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