Monday, February 16, 2015

Not a lot there

The curses that we have in Hebrew from ancient Palestine do not attest to the complex genre of curses that we find in many civilizations. There is no practice such as the Greek and Roman defixio or binding curse, with its attendant manipulation of material or dolls (also attested in Assyrian and Egyptian sources), or the long and complex curses found in Greek magical papyri, or Christian Coptic texts. But words denoting ‘blessing’ and ‘curse’ in Hebrew are a recurring feature, and even though the curse did not develop for many centuries into a sophisticated system (and even then perhaps under cross-cultural influence), that does not mean that it or blessing did not have great force and significance for the people of the time. Indeed, the long exposition of blessing and curses in some texts (e.g., Dt 27–28 and 5Q14) is indicative of the importance placed upon them.— The Semantics of Blessing and Cursing in Ancient Hebrew pages 4–5

<idle musing>
I just finished reading the entire book. It was a very interesting read. I'll be posting more on it soon (I hope). He dealt with the whole issue of words having innate power—he even went into the history of where the idea came from. Good stuff. I've got another article coming via ILL that he referenced; once it arrives, I'll post from it. All very enlightening...
</idle musing>

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