Encyclopedia of Hebrew Language and Linguistics

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Oath/Curse Formulae: Biblical Hebrew
(631 words)

Biblical literature attests to a variety of curses, wishes for misfortune to befall one’s fellow. Except for the אָרוּר ʾå̄rūr curse, they were not formulaic, but phrased ad hoc. Oaths are phrases invoking God in order to validate a statement or a declaration of intent. Biblical Hebrew exhibits different oath formulae, but oaths need not be formulaic. Though in part syntactically elusive, many oaths can be explained as conditional self-imprecations.

The only formulaic curse in Biblical Hebrew consists of the passive participle אָרוּר ʾå̄rūr ‘cursed’ in modal use followed by a noun…

Cite this page
Stadel, Christian, “Oath/Curse Formulae: Biblical Hebrew”, in: Encyclopedia of Hebrew Language and Linguistics, Edited by: Geoffrey Khan. Consulted online on 24 September 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2212-4241_ehll_EHLL_COM_00000014>
First published online: 2013
First print edition: 9789004176423

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