Thursday, January 22, 2015

Grammar really does matter

Further, Neh 5:13 also illustrates the custom of pronouncing a curse twice. The first articulation is expressed with an active verb that is clearly informed by and coordinated with Nehemiah’s performance of shaking out his cloak. After the predictive act and word is completed, the curse is pronounced again but this time with a passive participle. This reflects a careful balance between the active and passive voice and likewise suggests a mutually dependent paring of ideas in maledictions expressed in this way. Even though the passive participle relies on the preceding curse for some meaning, it is still possible for the passive curse to stand on its own. This proposes that ָארוּר-formula imprecations developed from the second element of binary curses in which the first element expressed the malediction actively with a curse act.— Cursed Are You!, page 66

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