Blessing and cursing part 2: curse

Curse is a much more complicated concept than blessing, because there are numerous ways to wish someone bad luck. Oral tradition (“folklore”) has retained countless examples of imprecations. Someone
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Introduction Curse is a much more complicated concept than blessing, because there are numerous ways to wish someone bad luck. Oral tradition (“folklore”) has retained countless examples of imprecations. Someone might want a neighbor’s cow to stop giving milk or another neighbor’s wife to become barren. The fateful formula would be pronounced and take effect. More than one “witch” has been accused of such crimes and burned. Or an evil queen would turn her stepsons into ravens (they are swans in H. C. Andersen), for she too knew some terrible spell. The episode of Jesus’s cursing a fig tree brought to life tons of exegetic literature. A curse could consign one to eternal perdition or to a lighter punishment, and different words might be needed for each action. Compare the images evoked by such words as anathema and excommunication. This is not the place for a disquisition on theology, but we should realize the great difficulty the Anglo-Saxon missionaries had while adapting the basics. . .

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News source: Linguistics – OUPblog

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