Tuesday, June 21, 2016

X-ing out your enemy

(Give the photo a click or two to read the text.)

My word of the week for ABC Wednesday is  XENOPHOBIA.
(zěn'ə-fō'bē-ə, zē'nə-) Fear and contempt of strangers or foreign peoples.
In ancient Egypt the custom was to inscribe on a figurine the name of your enemy and appropriate curses. 
Then in an ancient ritual the figurine was smashed and the curses were activated, in the belief that this would break the enemy's power.
One such clay figurine bears on its chest the name Rusulimum (Jerusalem) and names of other enemy Canaanite cities.

I myself almost "fainted" when I first saw this display at Jerusalem's Tower of David Museum!
What an idea! 
Talk about the power of words . . . Talk about hatred of foreign peoples . . . !
Can you imagine ever doing such a thing
(BTW, "thing" and "word" are both expressed in Hebrew by the word davar. In the old days, a word was not just a sound you heard. No. A word was a thing in itself, having its own existence, carrying power. And if you know a person's name, you have power over him; you call out his name and he stops and turns around.)

The clay figurine is a copy of the original, courtesy of the Royal Museum of Art and History, Brussels.
The execration (!) text is from Egypt, 19th to 18th century BCE.
1382, from Latin execrationem, noun of action from execrari "to hate, curse," from ex- "out" + sacrare "to devote to holiness or to destruction, consecrate," from sacer "sacred"

1. the act of execrating
2. a curse or imprecation: "The execrations of the prophet terrified the sinful multitude."
3. the object execrated; a thing held in abomination
See also "execration" in Jeremiah's strong words: Jer. 42:18:
Shalom, dear blog readers, and blessings be upon you.
(Linking to ABC Wednesday.)


William Kendall said...

And it is a problem that more than persists today.

Jackie @travelnwrite said...

Oh my, such an interesting, but sad post. We have seen in the last few weeks such examples of fear and hatred on both sides of the Atlantic that it breaks my heart. I love your posts Dina as I learn so much from you ~ thank you!

Petrea Burchard said...

I used to think/wish/hope the world was becoming less xenophobic. I'm feeling pretty disheartened about that these days.

Melody Steenkamp said...

I know the word...and the feeling....but on a daily basis I struggle to prevent it from directing my life in a course I don't want it to go

Have a nice abcwednes-day / – week
♫ M e l d y ♫ (abc-w-team)

Alice said...

How sad, even today there is so much of this around. Shalom Dina

Trubes said...

So through the centuries nothing much changes
and such hatred is spoken in the name of a so called God!
Religion should preach a kind and loving text not the
vile murderous rhetoric that fronts so many of these evil sects
who hide behind the twisted texts from their holy missals.
I pray every night for peace and harmony in our world but I'm
afraid it will never be.
Never mind I will keep the faith and will just keep on praying.
Best wishes,
ABCW team.

Ann said...

wow never seen this in the form of a carving.

Come Away With Me said...

Oh my, after that, shalom and blessings are definitely needed! I'm glad you ended your post with them.

Patsy said...

Would never thought about knowing a persons name as
having power over them, they only meant it for evil.

GreensboroDailyPhoto said...

As a teacher, I try to teach peace, tolerance, and having a global perspective. Sometimes Xenophobia gets its nasty hold on people.


crystal said...

In European fairy tales too, words and especially names have power and to know someone's real name was to be able to control them. That little statue looks like a stone version of a magical poppet. Kind of spooky.

Roger Owen Green said...

xenophobia is strong these days