Paul’s Curse of Corinthians

Restraining Rivals with Fear and Voces Mysticae (1 Cor 16:22)

In: Novum Testamentum
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  • 1 , Notre Dame, IN
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In 1 Cor 16:22, Paul concludes his letter with a curse against anyone that does not love the Lord followed immediately by the Aramaic expression µαράνα θά. Curses were used in antiquity to restrain rivals by threatening to inflict them with harm or death. Voces mysticae—mystically powerful foreign language words—were frequently employed in curses and many were derived from Hebrew or Aramaic. Curses were widely feared and numerous curses have been discovered in Roman Korinthia. Paul’s conditional curse in 16:22 serves as a final persuasive technique to change the Corinthians’ factional behavior by restraining his rivals through their fear of curses and the power of µαράνα θά as voces mysticae.

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