Lust, Friendship, and Eternity in the Epic of Gilgamesh

May 3, 2023
Gavin House
1220 E 58th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
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Daniel Wasserman-SolerLumen Christi Institute

Open to current undergraduate students at the University of Chicago. Registration is capped at 20. Students who register after capacity has been reached will be put on a waitlist. All registrants will be provided with a free copy of the text.


The Epic of Gilgamesh has been called the oldest surviving book in the history of Earth. Originating thousands of years ago, the story continues to offer profound insights for modern readers about essential human desires for love, power, and everlasting life. Whether you are encountering the book for the first time or re-visiting it, the tale of Gilgamesh promises to teach you something new about your life.


This event is part of Lumen Christi’s Fundamental Questions seminar, a quarterly reading group designed for undergraduate students at the University of Chicago. By fostering intellectually rigorous conversation around culturally resonant texts, we aim to allow students to experience the force of the deep existential concerns which animate our lives: “Where do my values come from? What is the good life? How can I become happy?” Our aim is not to answer such fundamental questions, but rather to equip students with the intellectual skills needed to recognize and articulate them for themselves. 

This fundamental questions seminar meets three times during the quarter. For each session, we will meet and discuss over dinner.  Dinner is served at 6:00pm. Discussion begins at 6:15.



6:00 PM Dinner | 6:15 PM Discussion

Week 3 : Wednesday, April 5: Is power the most fundamental human desire? (Prologue-Book II)

Week 5 : Wednesday, April 19: What qualities make a true friend? (Books III-IV)

Week 7 : Wednesday, May 3: What can humans hope for after death? (Books V-VII)



Image: "Alte Flagge Aramäer" by TruthWin47 via Wikimedia Commons is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International

Daniel Wasserman-Soler serves as the Executive Director of the Lumen Christi Institute. He holds a Ph.D. in history from the University of Virginia and a B.A. in history from the University of Chicago. He first became acquainted with Lumen Christi as an undergraduate.

As a Fulbright scholar in Spain, he conducted research on the Spanish Empire during the sixteenth-century. His book, Truth in Many Tongues: Religious Conversion and the Languages of the Early Spanish Empire (Penn State, 2020), explores how the Spanish Crown managed an empire of unprecedented linguistic diversity. He also has published articles in the Journal of Early Modern History, Church History, the Medieval History Journal, and History Compass. A native Spanish speaker, he grew up in Miami, where he attended Carmelite and Salesian schools. His wife and five children are members of St. Mary of the Angels Church in Chicago.

Before joining Lumen Christi, Danny was a history professor for ten years, first at Oberlin College and then at Alma College, where he was a tenured associate professor of history, department chair, and director of the first-year seminar program.