The Affective Eye

Re-Examining a Biblical Idiom

In: Biblical Interpretation
Nicole Tilford Georgia State University, USA

Search for other papers by Nicole Tilford in
Current site
Google Scholar
Download Citation Get Permissions

Access options

Get access to the full article by using one of the access options below.

Institutional Login

Log in with Open Athens, Shibboleth, or your institutional credentials

Login via Institution


Buy instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access):


Scholars have debated whether the ancient Israelites believed in the evil eye. Biblical passages that mention a “bad eye” (Prov. 23:6; 28:22) or “to do bad with the eye” (Deut. 15:9; 28:54, 56) seem to suggest that such a belief existed in ancient Israel; however, some scholars have argued that such passages are simply idioms for greed or stinginess. This paper reexamines this issue. Drawing upon recent insights from cognitive linguistics, I argue that perception was commonly understood in ancient Israel as a means of positively and negatively affecting the environment and that it was this affective dimension of Israelite thought that prompted biblical writers to describe the character of an individual by his or her physical qualities.

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 196 41 4
Full Text Views 37 4 1
PDF Views & Downloads 50 12 0