1. From the reading provided, there were not many differences that I could distinguish between the versions of Heaven and Hell in the Koran and Bible. The notable differences that I found were details. In the Bibical descriptions, there is Hell, an inferno, which is a place of punishment for the wicked and those who do not repent. There is not many references to the flames and seething waters that the Koran states repeatedly. The most diverse descriptions of Heaven came from the Koran. There are passages that state that boys of eternal youth, who drink pure nectar, serve you forever from goblets of silver. One will wear robes of silk, sitting on couches under the shade of trees with fruits, which hang in clusters surrounding them. One will receive ginger flavored water from the Fount of Salsabil. The Heaven described in the Bible is rarely described in any detail, other than being in the presence of God. The ideas of Heaven and Hell remain similar in purpose and destination, but the explicit imagery provided of each is definitively provided greater by the Koran.
2. As mentioned in the reading, Mark was written for a Gentile audience. The version focuses on details and locations, including the Roman praetorium, which is where Jesus was brought when he was condemned. Chronological events and symbolism play a major role in the pagan audience and the New Testament plays on this very well. The New Testament is actually written as a narrative, which identifies real places and people, in which events took place that influenced many. The symbolism like thunder crashing and the sky turning black during Jesus’ crucifixion are elements that would take place in any pagan legend and bring a dramatic effect to the story. Jesus could also be considered Heroic, in the way he defied the expectations of a mob and showed resiliency in the face of adversity and true pain and ultimately brings redemption and salvation to those who seek it.
3. Relations to God are changed dramatically with the New Testament and covenant. People’s fear is no longer the strongest emotion tying them to God, but love and compassion now play a more important factor, as it is now an obtainable relationship. What I mean by that, is that the man who has sinned for many years, but realizes the error of his ways is no long damned to torment and can now change his manifesto and come to know God and strive for that perfection. In the tales of the Iliad and Gilgamesh, gods are more like people with unique personalities and traits, which they govern. The relationships people had with these gods was distant, detached, and usually a form of worship. Sacrifices were made in honor of these gods, but something as simple as family relations would cause discrimination in the eyes of gods and gaining favor would be near impossible. These gods did not live by rules or expect humans to do so either as long as they were worshiped.