Monday, March 30, 2020

Swearing an oath

To swear an oath is a performative act. Swearing by a deity is a precarious and daring speech-act. The practice of swearing an oath was well-known in the ANE, including Pharaonic Egypt. The oath-taker indirectly invokes the deity as an observing witness to the case. Ancient Egyptians, Persians, Israelites, and Khwarezmians respected the divine realm as a powerful reality. This implies that the contents of Mahseiah’s oath were understood as truth. The oath goes beyond a mere declaration; it signi es that Mahseiah’s statements could never be a lie. In case these words turned out not to be true, the court and the disputants expected the deity to punish the liar. It should be noted that swearing by the deity of another group within Elephantine was not uncommon.— Bob Becking in Divine Doppelgängers: YHWH’s Ancient Look-Alikes, p. 73

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