Encyclopedia of Hebrew Language and Linguistics

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Oath/Curse Formulae: Rabbinic Hebrew
(548 words)

An oath formula is a linguistic structure composed of two elements. The first expresses authentication by oath, while the second conveys the oath’s actual content. Two categories of oaths must be distinguished in Rabbinic Hebrew: legally binding oaths, having judicial consequences and used also in court, and a variety of vernacular and informal oaths.

Oaths of the first category, peculiar to Rabbinic Hebrew, are formed by the noun שבועה šeḇuʿa ‘[I hereby take an] oath’, (+ -ש še- ‘that’) + a clause expressing the oath’s content, for example,שבועה שלא אוכל šeḇuʿa šel-lo ʾoḵal ‘I swear t…

Cite this page
Azar, Moshe, “Oath/Curse Formulae: Rabbinic 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_00000048>
First published online: 2013
First print edition: 9789004176423

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