Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Name it and claim it, Akkadian style

This process did not depend on the āšipu’s possessing a pre-existing or essential connection to the divine realm, but rather the āšipu’s authorized participation in the blended space of the ritual.

One piece of evidence that a supernatural connection empowering causative speech lies with the speech itself is the attention given to precise performance. Instructions are quite specific: certain oral rites are to be repeated three or seven times and accompanied by particular acts or gestures. As Sørensen argues, this emphasis on precision indicates that at least a degree of supernatural power (or as he puts it, “magical agency”) inheres in the speech itself. The speech is being used as a “sort of material object” required for ritual efficacy, rather than (merely) as communication. Stereotypy and special prosodic features such as alliteration provide further evidence for the use of speech as a tool.—Forestalling Doom page 89

<idle musing>
Do it just right and things will happen just right. Sounds oddly reminiscent of some people's view of scripture and prayer...

I think it is safe to say it is a sub-Christian view of God.
</idle musing>

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