Encyclopedia of Christianity Online

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(1,917 words)

1. Concept and Origin

An oath is either a solemn assertion or a promise. We find this form of enhancing reliability in almost all cultures. Oaths perhaps arose from the attempt to link gestures, acts, words, and the reaction of the world around in such a way as to reduce any doubt as to the validity of a communication. Thus raising the hand at an oath might originally have been a gesture of peace. The beginning of an oath—“If I do this, may…

Cite this page
Schwarz, Joachim, “Oath”, in: Encyclopedia of Christianity Online. Consulted online on 22 March 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2211-2685_eco_O2>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004169678, 20080512

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