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Word Count: 734
From the days of old there is no permanence The sleeping and the dead how alike they are they are like a painted death Gilgamesh 16 The fascination and fear of death is present in all cultures Questions of an afterlife have attempted to be answered through philosophy and religion which are seen through writings of various civilizations The Sumerian Hebrew and Greek literature all have reference to death trying to understand life after death was important in these cultures Because each civilization is unique the beliefs concerning immortality are similar and dissimilar Although religion was the basis of the Sumerian society there was no closure for what was to come after death death being some vague and shadowy existence In the Epic of Gigamesh the central character is in search of immortality but is told on many occasions that he cannot live forever Siduri the goddess of the vine tells him You will never find that life for which you are looking When the gods created man they allotted to him death but life they retained in their own keeping And even the father of the gods had said to Gilgamesh This was the meaning of your dream You were given the kinship such was your destiny everlasting life was not your destiny The great accomplishments of life get rewarded on earth and that is all that is said about it Those in search of eternal rewards or immortality would not find comfort in the Sumerian culture Comfort for immortality may be obtained through the Hebrew religion which teaches that through faith kindness and following the commandments of God one can live forever This does not mean perpetual life on earth but one in heaven with God In Psalms 8 it reads Surely goodness and kindness will attend me all the days on my life And I shall dwell in the house of Yahweh for days without end This reflects the importance of
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