Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Idle musing
Reading one of Aleister Crowley's books[1], i've recently discovered that the Hebrew word for "blood" is "dam". So that got me thinking about what it means to "damn" someone and whether in the original sense to damn someone was to punitively draw hir blood. That in turn prompted me to try to find some sort of etymological discussion of the word. According to one Christian the word derived from the Latin word "damnare", which means loss or harm. That could conceivably cover the instance of shedding someone's blood. The Hebrew word for "shedding" is quite different from "dam", but given the way languages mutate over time and the way languages borrow from each other it wouldn't surprise me if originally the Latin word was a way of saying someone bloodied someone else. But what i found most interesting about all this was that apparently we have the Xtian religion to thank for turning the word "damn" into a profanity. It seems that with the help of some sloppy translation of the original Greek into English, a perfectly servicable word was converted into mild blasphemy (if blasphemy can ever be considered mild), and this seems to be, yet again, an example of how people in power wield power arbitrarily.

[1]"Magick Without Tears"

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