Faculty Publications

Title

Minority Report: Re-Reading Gilgamesh After Levinas

Document Type

Article

Keywords

Epic of Gilgamesh, compassion, Levinas, meaning of life, morality

Journal/Book/Conference Title

SAGE Open

Volume

6

Issue

3

Abstract

The Epic of Gilgamesh attempts to answer the question of how, given the finality of death, one might find meaning and happiness in life. Many commentators argue that the text provides two separate, although ultimately unsatisfactory, alternatives. What these commentators appear to miss, however, is the possibility that these two solutions may not be separate. Using Levinas’s distinction between “need” and “desire,” I argue that, by the end of the Epic, they may in fact be synthesized into a single solution, one that suggests the priority of an affective moral grounding as prior to and more fundamental than intellectual solutions.

Original Publication Date

7-1-2016

DOI of published version

10.1177/2158244016657858

Repository

UNI ScholarWorks, Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa

Language

en

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