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According to the definition of curse (German Fluch) in Zedler's Universal-Lexicon, a curse is “a speech by which we wish someone ill” [1. 1337]. In fact, to wish well (Latin benedicere) and to wish ill (Latin maledicere) are linked. Both rely on belief in the power of the word, particularly when that word is spoken by an authority adhering to particular formulae and rituals. To this category belong so-called “curse psalms” and “curse masses.” The curse is a counterpart to the prayer, which, directed to God, is intended to produce a positive outcome. There is a relation to the ban, the e…

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Behringer, Wolfgang, “Curse”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 06 December 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_SIM_019286>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20170206

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