Edited by John Maier
Gilgamesh: A Reader provides 25 interpretive essays on the epic that stands at the dawn of literature. This collection is designed to enrich the reader's background with selections from experts on Near Eastern literature; to draw connections between Gilgamesh and other literature with interdisciplinary selections; to enliven interest in the world's oldest epic; and to stimulate thought and discussion. Influences of Gilgamesh on later literature, philological and literary studies since 1982, and Gilgamesh from other perspectives are the three broad areas covered.
The Epic of Gilgamesh is often neglected in studies of literature, mythology, and religion because many general readers, teachers, and students lack familiarity with the ancient Near Eastern milieu from which the epic springs. This reader elucidates Gilgamesh's context and connection to later literatures.
- An introduction that describes the difficulties of translating Gilgamesh and discusses the controversial "flood episode"
- 25 interpretive essays by Assyriologists and nonspecialists
- Comprehensive Gilgamesh bibliography to 1994, with over 1500 entries
John Maier is a Distinguished Teaching Professor at the State University of New York-Brockport. His other books include: The Bible in its Literary Milieu (1980), Gilgamesh with John Gardner and Richard A. Henshaw (1984), Myths of Enki, The Crafty God with Samual Noah Kramer (1989), Mappings of the Biblical Terrain: The Bible as Text with Vincent L. Tollers (1990), and Desert Songs: Western Images of Morocco and Moroccan Images of the West (1996). In addition, Maier has published 35 articles and 58 papers and is listed in International Men of Achievement, Dictionary of International Biography, Who’s Who in Biblical Studies and Archaeology, and Who’s Who in American Education. He has completed postdoctoral studies in ancient Sumerian and Akkadian literature in cuneiform, the concept of “other” in literature and the social sciences, intensive Modern Standard Arabic, and Moroccan Arabic.
Comments and Reviews
Gilgamesh: A Reader is a valued and significant contribution to the growing body of literature on the oldest known, recorded myth — and the template for the hero saga as it has come down to us through the past four millennia. Highly recommended.
— The Midwest Book Review
A scholarly collection that might have appealed only to its contributors, but it ignites curiosity about a story that only recently has attracted major comment.
This book by Maier sparks renewed interest with essays divided almost equally between two camps; those who studied cuneiform texts and, therefore, are Assyriologists, and those who are not. Maier claims that the two groups have ignored each other, but this volume excites by showing their common enthusiasm.
The author comes with credentials: he alone has 18 entries in a bibliography which weighs in at 128 pages. Compelling contemporary essays about an ancient journey.
— The Book Reader
...not only essential for students studying Gilgamesh but for anyone interested in the transmission and interpretation of ideas.
— Tammi J. Schneider
Claremont Graduate University
Religious Studies Review
Vol. 24, No. 4