Anathema

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Dictionary Meaning and Definition on 'Anathema'

Anathema Meaning and Definition from WordNet (r) 2.0
    anathema n
  1. a detested person; "he is an anathema to me" [syn: bete noire}]
  2. a formal ecclesiastical curse accompanied by excommunication
Anathema Meaning and Definition from Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)
    Anathema \A*nath"e*ma\, n.; pl. Anathemas. [L. anath?ma, fr. Gr. ? anything devoted, esp. to evil, a curse; also L. anath?ma, fr. Gr. ? a votive offering; all fr. ? to set up as a votive gift, dedicate; ? up + ? to set. See Thesis.]
  1. A ban or curse pronounced with religious solemnity by ecclesiastical authority, and accompanied by excommunication. Hence: Denunciation of anything as accursed. [They] denounce anathemas against unbelievers. --Priestley.
  2. An imprecation; a curse; a malediction. Finally she fled to London followed by the anathemas of both [families]. --Thackeray.
  3. Any person or thing anathematized, or cursed by ecclesiastical authority. The Jewish nation were an anathema destined to destruction. St. Paul . . . says he could wish, to save them from it, to become an anathema, and be destroyed himself. --Locke. Anathema Maranatha(see --1 Cor. xvi. 22), an expression commonly considered as a highly intensified form of anathema. Maran atha is now considered as a separate sentence, meaning, ``Our Lord cometh.''
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Wikipedia Meaning and Definition on 'Anathema'


Anathema (from Koine Greek ἀνάθεμα "something dedicated, especially dedicated to evil” from ἀνατίθημι anatithēmi, "I set upon, offer as a votive gift") originally meant something lifted up as an offering to the gods; it later evolved to mean:

In the Bible, it appears in conjunction with the word "maranatha".

There is some difficulty translating this word, especially since it has now become commonly used with the term accursed or accustomed. The original meaning of the Greek word, as used in non-Biblical Greek literature, was an offering to a god. The Hebrew word herem (חרם) referred to something forbidden or off limits. It was used in verses such as Leviticus 27:28 to refer to things offered to God, and hence off limits to common (non-religious) use. Because the Greek word anathema meant things offered to God, it was used to translate the Hebrew word herem in such contexts. Thus, the meaning of the Greek word, under the influence of the Hebrew word, was eventually taken as meaning "set apart", (like herem) rather than "offering to god", and eventually the word came to be seen as meaning "banished" and to be considered beyond the judgment and help of the community.

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