Wednesday, June 08, 2016

So that's how it works!

The Marduk-Ea dialogue seeks to ensure that the incantation of the earthly exorcist comes directly from the gods. When the exorcist declares that “the incantation is not mine”, nothing depends upon his person anymore (Geller 2010: 29). In other words, his identity is fused with that of the Divine Exorcist. The voice of the patient in such incantations is usually not heard, (s)he is a passive object of all that is happening around. He is referred to in the third person, described as “a man son of his god” or the “distraught man” (Geller 2010: 29). The selves of the exorcist priest and his patient became united and identified with the healer deity, positively transfigured and handed back to the participants. This fusion of identities becomes possible because the condition of illness of the patient was experienced by Adapa during primordial times and was a part of exorcist’s identity. This identity cohesion is reflected in a late lexical list of professions, which has fourteen different identifications for the exorcist āšipu, also including the most usual term for “patient”, pap.hal (see Geller 2010: 47-48).— The Overturned Boat, page 73

<idle musing>
So we run into Eliade's illud tempus here. According to that way of thinking, the goal of ritual is to get back to the sacred time (illud tempus [that time] in Latin) when divine activity was stronger, to transpose the current events into that time so that the power of the divinity can overcome the problems.

I've always found the theory attractive, but have also been a bit skeptical; it seems too simplistic. But, at the same time, there are parts of it that resonate with me. Of course, I always run it through my Christian theology filter...
</idle musing>

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