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By Valerii Nikonorov, Philip Greenough, Rory Little, Alexander Sil'nov

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There the author reveals what kind of wisdom Gilgamesh did learn. It is not the wisdom of the tavernkeeper, whose carpe-diem counsel has disappeared from the text. In the Standard Babylonian version, Gilgamesh receives his wisdom from Utnapishtim, also known as Atrahasis, the hero who survived the flood. The episode of the encounter with Utnapishtim was already part of the epic in Old Babylonian times, as the last part of the so-called Sippar tablet suggests. Yet it is evident from the literal correspondence between the closing lines of tablet XI and lines 18–23 of the prologue (XI 322–28 = I i 18–23) that the editor who added the prologue was also responsible for a thorough revision of tablet XI (that is, the corre8.

Wisdom and Writing in Gilgamesh I have argued that the new concept of wisdom is closely related to writing. If wisdom came to designate a secret lore, it is because the written tradition was the exclusive province of the professionals of writing. The new wisdom is scribal wisdom. It deserves to be noted that the Standard Babylonian version of Gilgamesh reflects both the emergence of the new vision of wisdom and its link to writing. Many commentators have observed that the editor reshaped the concept of wisdom; few of them have made the connection, however, with the role the prologue assigns to writing.

A. Speiser, “The Case of the Obliging Servant” JCS 8 (1954): 98–105 = Oriental and Biblical Studies: Collected Writings of E. A. Speiser (ed. J. J. Finkelstein and M. Greenberg; Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1967), 344–68. Lines 70–78, to be discussed below, and especially the doing of usâtu and its rewards have been compared to Counsels of Wisdom ll. 61–65 (BWL, 102) by Nili Samet in her soon-to-be-published Hebrew University MA thesis on the Dialogue of Pessimism. Samet also discusses the relationship between Dialogue of Pessimism, ll.

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