To Obey or Disobey: The Role of Obedience in the Iliad and Genesis 1-25

Even though they were written in the same period of time, the Iliad (written c. 700 BC) and Genesis (compiled between 900 and 400 BC) exhibit many differences in their concepts of obedience. While the Iliad often condones men who disobey, Genesis condemns any man who does not obey the word of God with a harsh punishment. The contrasting ideas of obedience in the two books is important and relevant for the reader today in the light that Genesis has become the cornerstone for a major world religion while the Iliad has remained only at the epic poetry level.

Obedience in Genesis is clearly a paramount and straightforward concept. Throughout this book, God creates men who disobey him and are therefore punished. Those who do not disobey him are saved from his wrath. The idea of disobedience is embodied by Adam and Eve. The first man and the first woman demonstrate that it is human nature to disobey, and that God does not like mistakes. There is nothing in Genesis that suggests that God admires the rebel or the free-thinker; he does not admire Adam and Eve for their boldness and courage to disobey God. Instead, God expects a blind faith and obedience from men to carry out Gods demands.

Blind faith is exemplified in Genesis by those who...

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