Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Dual role

One concept noted repeatedly in this study is the mystification of agency found in causative and particularly in hybrid speech acts. In the namburbis and Text 3, the agency responsible for the magical effect is either attributed to the gods or obfuscated through ambiguous verbal forms. The double illocutionary force of the hybrid speech acts fits particularly well with the role of the Mesopotamian ritual practitioner as recently described by both Maul and Rüdiger Schmitt. Both scholars claim that ANE practitioners “slip into” the role of a god when carrying out magical rituals, actively bringing the gods’ powers into the ritual context. As a human, the practitioner can only petition the gods for help, but as one acting the part of a god, the practitioner can actually enact the desired transformation with speech. Such dual action results from the practitioner’s double role in the blended space of the ritual, both drawing on divine power while retaining his or her human identity as a servant of the gods.—Forestalling Doom pages 238–39

<idle musing>
This is actually very common; if you read much anthropology and/or history of religions, you'll see it repeatedly. The line between the divine and the human is bridged by the ritual practitioner. Eliade called it illud tempus (that time) in his writings.

Now the question to ask is, how do we fall into this trap as Christians? How do we think we can control God and circumstances? I would venture to say that we do it without realizing it...

As always, just an
</idle musing>

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