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An idea concerning the evil eye, demonic activity and subjective shared context

Alpha60

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Disclaimer: what follows is my own poor theologoumemnon on the Evil Eye, and an explanation as to what precisely I meant when I denied that the Evil Eye has an external reality, by which I meant an external, autonomous, natural, objective reality not dependent on a shared psychological context in which the demons have a basis from which to cause objective harm:

Arachne said:
Alpha60 said:
*I myself do not believe the evil eye or curses have an external reality, but are rather a demonic delusion that operates based on an internal, psychogenic confusion on the part of the believer in the superstition
The effects of the evil eye on children too young to have any belief one way or another are real enough.
Let me clarify: I do believe that the evil eye is demonic activity and that these demons can actualize the appearance of a curse that would be attributed to Vaskania, in order to cause spiritual harm to the people of the Eastern Mediterranean who believe in it on a cultural level.  And I believe the Exorcism composed by St. Basil is neccessary, vital, important and ingenious, because as a prayer it calls their bluff, invoking the name of our Lord in order to put the demons to flight.

I think however that there is no external reality to the evil eye, in that, if an Orthodox Christian resolved that it did not exist, and prayed for the protection of their children from demons, and followed all guidance provided by their priest for avoiding the demonic in their life, for example, by using if warranted the exorcism provided by St. Basil, through the sign of the cross, a robust sacramental life, the avoidance of superstitous extra-ecclesial solutions to Vaskania like the use of those amulets (I have a Jewish friend whose house and office feature these, and was very surprised to discover their function), and other superstitions (my Armenian-Iranian friend Aras, whose children I grew up with are also my friends; her family is a friend of my family in toto, taught me about the evil eye at an early age as she cooked some seeds on a stove in order to protect one of her children who she was afraid another parent at our school looked at with the evil eye), and a recognition that devils prey upon our fears, including our cultural fears, they could completely protect themselves provided that this attitude was maintained with humility, in the church and with absolute faith in the protection of Christ and the angels.

Demonic activity aside, it is impossible for a loving aunt or uncle to inadvertantly curse their nieces and nephews, or for someone with bright or blue eyes to do the same.  And I believe it is possible for a humble and pious Christian family to protect themselves and their children against such curses simply through faith in our Lord and his angels, and the guardian angels of the children, to defend them against the evil actions of the demons, who are acting upon the children in order to try to cause spiritual harm to someone weak in the faith or inclined towards superstition, and this humility and faith in our Lord to protect oneself and the children would involve a willingness to follow the instructions of the priest precisely, including the use of the exorcism prayers as needed.  But there would need to be a confidence in the love of God.  If on the other hand one believed that one was immune to the evil eye just because one had so much more faith than everyone else, knowing what we know about demons, it seems likely this would almost guarantee a problem.

Also I feel very sorry for the Muslims, Jews and others in the Eastern Mediterranean who have this fear, with no recourse to Christ our Lord and the continuing protection of the Holy Spirit and the angels, as the demons must have a field day with them.  I think the Orthodox should try to separate themselves further from these people, by rejecting all superstitions and relying entirely on the Church and the instructions of clergy for defense against Vaskania in particular and demons in general.

I do not think it possible for a well intentioned person with blue eyes or bright eyes to inadvertantly inflict a curse on someone in the absence of a psychological context, which could be historical, cultural, or indeed acquired as a result of someone inducing in another person a fear of the phenomenon, that provides a distortion of the basic facts of natural reality; this psychological context, whether individual or shared, provides the demons with the space in which to operate, to try and wreak havoc with the souls of those people who find themselves in this contextual space with the demons, and for a Christian who becomes afraid of this, their solution is easy, which is to go to their priest and request assistance.  The demons are merciless; look at what Satan and his minions did to physically harm St. Anthony, and St. Job before him, but we have recourse to the exorcism provided by St. Basil.

And the exorcism exists, the sacramentals exist, the mysteries of confession and communion exist, the Holy Spirit is in our midst, Christ has risen from the dead, and our Heavenly Father has in the unity of the most holy trinity providentially supplied us with a vast army of invincible heavenly guards; a corps of angels to protect our souls and those of our children from the evil one.

I believe the evil eye can be completely defeated and made something that need not trouble any Orthodox Christian for a number of reasons, not the least of which are the 200 million or so Orthodox Christians in Russia, Northern Europe, the US, and elsewhere, many of whom have blue eyes or bright eyes, who among other things routinely look upon their nieces, nephews and other children with love and not envy or malice, and who in so doing do not inadvertantly bedevil these children.  I think the goal of Satan is to try to break the faith of the Orthodox Christians, and get them to not seek the protection of the Church and the Sacraments and the Exorcism of St. Basil, and the sign of the Victorious Cross and the holy waters of Theophany, but rather, to induce them in fear to seek out an occult solution, in the form of amulets, or consultation with witches, and other worthless spirtual frauds, so that the faith of the Orthodox Christian will be subverted and bypassed, and the baptized laic will, instead of relying on our Savior, rely on the worthless occult actions of spiritual frauds and the idolatrous perversion of petty trinkets.  I think a Mercy Seat icon of our infant Savior, flanked by icons of St. Basil and St. Nicholas, would be more powerful in protecting children from the absurd trickery of demons than every single blue-eyed amulet that ever has or ever could exist.  You could line the walls of your house with those, and I suppose that might not be a bad idea for a Muslim with this problem, but for the Christian, it would not only not help, but actively worsen the situation by representing a capitulation.

Now, for a few final clarifications, lest any of these points were not adequetely made:

- I am not suggesting that the Evil Eye is purely imaginary. 
- Far less am I suggesting that the apparent external affects of it lack an objective reality; these are the wounds afflicted by demons in an attack on the faith of those vulnerable to such an attack, which can, in the example given by Arachne, be inflicted on a third party, an innocent person such as the very young children of the target.
- Still less am I making what would be the assinine suggestion that it could be defeated solely by the willpower of the intended victim or victims of the demonic attack on their faith, or that a sudden change in belief concerning the actual power of these demons or a denial of their reality would magically fix everything in a Hollywood-type resolution.

What I am rather proposing is that a vulnerable community or one actively experiencing problems with this should together go to the church and seek ecclesiastical assistance only, and reject and repudiate any occult “helps”, because these are toxic to the faith of those being made to suffer through afflictions upon themself, in the manner of St. Anthony, or an attack upon their family connected with Vaskania, in the manner of St. Job, and indeed the reason why demons are attacking Christians in this way is to pressure them into yielding to the temptation to consult an occult practitioner and/or deploy amulets to try to rid themselves of this problem.

Rather the right thing to do is to seek the assistance of a qualified priest, which can include the very important tool of the exorcism of the evil eye using the prayers of St. Basil, and then ideally for the targeted community to work with the priest to seek to permanently free themselves from this particular demonic attack, by banishing all superstitions concerning the evil eye and instead cultivating a subtle faith, in extreme humility, that, aided by the intercessions of the saints, through the actions of the Holy Spirit and His Archangels, based on the salvific passion of the incarnate Logos and the providence of the Father, those inside the Church can be protected completely from the influence of the “evil eye,” by the strength of the Body of Christ, which posesses an absolute, objective external reality against which the evil eye, as a demonic attack exploiting a regional fear of a certain form of black magic, is ultimately rendered powerless, something demonstrated by the lack of evil-eye related complaints in large sections of the Orthodox population.

Thoughts?
 

Eamonomae

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Saying that the Evil Eye is demonic is just like saying demons love hanging around under ladders or like possessing black cats. It’s a gross cultural superstition that only gets power when people admit there’s power to it, and those who wrote prayers demanding protection from it are in grave danger in regards to their Faith in Christ and the Salvation of their Eternal Soul.
 

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Eamonomae said:
Saying that the Evil Eye is demonic is just like saying demons love hanging around under ladders or like possessing black cats. It’s a gross cultural superstition that only gets power when people admit there’s power to it, and those who wrote prayers demanding protection from it are in grave danger in regards to their Faith in Christ and the Salvation of their Eternal Soul.
Tell us more about how the faith and salvation of Saints Basil, John Chrysostom, Nectarios, Paisios, and other Fathers of the Church from the 4th to the 21st centuries were in danger.

Delusions of adequacy, on the other hand...
 

Mor Ephrem

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Arachne said:
Eamonomae said:
Saying that the Evil Eye is demonic is just like saying demons love hanging around under ladders or like possessing black cats. It’s a gross cultural superstition that only gets power when people admit there’s power to it, and those who wrote prayers demanding protection from it are in grave danger in regards to their Faith in Christ and the Salvation of their Eternal Soul.
Tell us more about how the faith and salvation of Saints Basil, John Chrysostom, Nectarios, Paisios, and other Fathers of the Church from the 4th to the 21st centuries were in danger.
I’m also interested.
 

Eamonomae

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Arachne said:
Eamonomae said:
Saying that the Evil Eye is demonic is just like saying demons love hanging around under ladders or like possessing black cats. It’s a gross cultural superstition that only gets power when people admit there’s power to it, and those who wrote prayers demanding protection from it are in grave danger in regards to their Faith in Christ and the Salvation of their Eternal Soul.
Tell us more about how the faith and salvation of Saints Basil, John Chrysostom, Nectarios, Paisios, and other Fathers of the Church from the 4th to the 21st centuries were in danger.

Delusions of adequacy, on the other hand...
I will retract what I say if you have citations.
 

Arachne

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Eamonomae said:
Arachne said:
Eamonomae said:
Saying that the Evil Eye is demonic is just like saying demons love hanging around under ladders or like possessing black cats. It’s a gross cultural superstition that only gets power when people admit there’s power to it, and those who wrote prayers demanding protection from it are in grave danger in regards to their Faith in Christ and the Salvation of their Eternal Soul.
Tell us more about how the faith and salvation of Saints Basil, John Chrysostom, Nectarios, Paisios, and other Fathers of the Church from the 4th to the 21st centuries were in danger.

Delusions of adequacy, on the other hand...
I will retract what I say if you have citations.
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php?topic=11784.0 (The prayer in the Euchologion was written by St Basil: http://www.christopherklitou.com/prayer_for_deliverance_from_the_evil_eye_euchologion.htm)
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,23737.msg364457.html#msg364457
https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=ofTEDgAAQBAJ&pg=PA41&dq=beware+the+evil+eye+iv&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjq0J7gia7jAhUdQRUIHZw7BL0QuwUIMjAB (use the table of contents)

There's a lot more material in Greek. 8)
 

Eamonomae

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Okay, I admit that I was rash and probably should be more humble on this subject, particularly if it is in the liturgical life of the Orthodox Church.

Sorry.
 

WPM

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Ah, Sauron in J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. LotR
 

WPM

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LOL! . 

I see a Troll coming on!
 

Alpha60

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Eamonomae said:
Saying that the Evil Eye is demonic is just like saying demons love hanging around under ladders or like possessing black cats. It’s a gross cultural superstition that only gets power when people admit there’s power to it, and those who wrote prayers demanding protection from it are in grave danger in regards to their Faith in Christ and the Salvation of their Eternal Soul.
You do realize that St. Basil the Great, as in, St. Basil the Great, wrote an exorcism of Vaskania?   
 

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I'm no fan of the evil eye and I don't particularly care for the folk traditions.  A friend of my mom's reads coffee grounds.  I don't allow my coffee cup to be read because I don't believe in that tradition.  I jokingly mention an "evil eye curse removal team" in case the local sports teams are enduring long losing streaks.
 

Alpha60

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SolEX01 said:
I'm no fan of the evil eye and I don't particularly care for the folk traditions.  A friend of my mom's reads coffee grounds.  I don't allow my coffee cup to be read because I don't believe in that tradition.  I jokingly mention an "evil eye curse removal team" in case the local sports teams are enduring long losing streaks.
As my post explains, I believe the evil eye has neccessary exorcism prayers because demons attack people inclined to believe it, in order to drive them to the occult, in other words, subjective shared context.  People concerned about the evil eye should consult with their priest and participate fully in the liturgical life of the Church, and in that manner could potentially be delivered from it wholesale, provided they did not fall into the trap of taking a Pelagian pride of their ecclesiastical accomplishments and church attendance, the trap of pride and self-esteem that roughly half of the Philokalia, and the Desert Fathers, consists of warnings about, but instead, should approach the sacraments and heed the instructions of the priest, secure in the knowledge that Christ and His angels will protect them and those around them if they maintain a sincere faith and humility. 

This, I believe we can assert, on the basis of the large numbers of Orthodox communities which do not have a fear of the evil eye; these communities show that people with strong faith who trust in God concerning this need not worry over it.

Sethrak said:
What's wrong with reading coffee cup ```
It is an occult practice by which one might allow oneself to be deluded by demons, and as such, no Christian should practice it.

Asteriktos said:
Alpha60 said:
with blue eyes or bright eyes
wat
There is a stupid belief in the Eastern Mediterranean region that people with bright eyes, especially blue eyes, are more likely to inadvertently curse something with the evil eye.  This is why those creepy eye amulets widely used by Jews as well as Muslims and superstitious Christians are blue, rather than, say, dark brown.

Does anyone know who makes those amulets and what their history is?  Their provenance is plainly demonic.  I was surprised to find out the purpose of these objects, that an Ashkenazi friend decorated his house and datacenter with.  For that matter I was surprised that Ashkenazim would bother with them, considering how frequently they have brightly colored eyes, and the distance between them and the regions of the Mediterranean, Levant and the former Ottoman Empire, and neighboring lands such as Persia, where this superstition is most commonly encountered.

I think we ought to consider praying for non-Christians to, in a manner that makes them aware of Christ, be delivered from the evil eye and other misfortunes their own religions cannot exorcise, despite valiant efforts (for example, the magical bowls used by Mandaeans to ward off demons, which feature certain Aramaic inscriptions, or the amulet-like use of a miniature Torah scroll or mezuzah on doorposts, et cetera, by Rabinnical Jews, something which the Karaites do not do (neither do the Karaites use phylacteries).  But the Karaites are still relatively out of luck in this department except to the extent that in praying for God to have mercy, they might receive it for reasons similar to those St. John Maximovitch gives with regards to Protestants.
 

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Alpha60 said:
There is a stupid belief in the Eastern Mediterranean region that people with bright eyes, especially blue eyes, are more likely to inadvertently curse something with the evil eye.  This is why those creepy eye amulets widely used by Jews as well as Muslims and superstitious Christians are blue, rather than, say, dark brown.

Does anyone know who makes those amulets and what their history is?  Their provenance is plainly demonic.  I was surprised to find out the purpose of these objects, that an Ashkenazi friend decorated his house and datacenter with.  For that matter I was surprised that Ashkenazim would bother with them, considering how frequently they have brightly colored eyes, and the distance between them and the regions of the Mediterranean, Levant and the former Ottoman Empire, and neighboring lands such as Persia, where this superstition is most commonly encountered.

I think we ought to consider praying for non-Christians to, in a manner that makes them aware of Christ, be delivered from the evil eye and other misfortunes their own religions cannot exorcise, despite valiant efforts (for example, the magical bowls used by Mandaeans to ward off demons, which feature certain Aramaic inscriptions, or the amulet-like use of a miniature Torah scroll or mezuzah on doorposts, et cetera, by Rabinnical Jews, something which the Karaites do not do (neither do the Karaites use phylacteries).  But the Karaites are still relatively out of luck in this department except to the extent that in praying for God to have mercy, they might receive it for reasons similar to those St. John Maximovitch gives with regards to Protestants.
Those evil eye ornaments (nazars) in your Jewish friend's house and data center might just be decorations. They're very popular tourist souvenirs in the eastern Mediterranean. My 'mother-in-law' gave us a small blue glass slab with white and blue iris glued on that she'd bought in the Greek part of Cyprus. It was an evil eye indeed: we hung it in front of the bedroom window, and after some months the iris dropped to the floor. But the blue glass backing is still hanging up.

I think you may be being unfair to many Jews who have a mezuzah on their doorpost when you label them 'amulate-like'. (BYW the mezuzah doesn't contain a 'miniature Torah'--you'd need a huge doorpost for that--but just a few verses from Deuteronomy.) Seeing/touching one can call an observant Jew's mind to God and help him/her behave in a proper manner. I suppose outsiders who don't understand their function might criticize the icons we Orthodox Christians have in our homes as 'amulate-like' as well. But we understand their proper place in the religious life.
 

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Alpha60 said:
There is a stupid belief in the Eastern Mediterranean region that people with bright eyes, especially blue eyes, are more likely to inadvertently curse something with the evil eye.  This is why those creepy eye amulets widely used by Jews as well as Muslims and superstitious Christians are blue, rather than, say, dark brown.
The appearance of something unusual is taken as a sign of either fortune or misfortune - that's literally how superstition works. Light-coloured eyes are relatively rare among the Mediterranean people, hence, suspicious. Just like albinism is considered an omen of disaster among many African people. It's all about fear of the unfamiliar.

 

Alpha60

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Arachne said:
Alpha60 said:
There is a stupid belief in the Eastern Mediterranean region that people with bright eyes, especially blue eyes, are more likely to inadvertently curse something with the evil eye.  This is why those creepy eye amulets widely used by Jews as well as Muslims and superstitious Christians are blue, rather than, say, dark brown.
The appearance of something unusual is taken as a sign of either fortune or misfortune - that's literally how superstition works. Light-coloured eyes are relatively rare among the Mediterranean people, hence, suspicious. Just like albinism is considered an omen of disaster among many African people. It's all about fear of the unfamiliar.
This makes a lot of sense for a lot of forms of superstition.  The tragedy here is of course the discrimination that Circassians, Caucasian Mountain people and other persons with bright eyes would experience in the region.  Now whereas the vaskania phenomena is pbviously a genuine problem in the Mediterranean, hence St. Basil writing an exorcism for it, I reject absolutely the idea that I, with my hazel eyes, or some of my blue, grey and green eyed relatives, could inadvertantly cause the evil eye effect on account of our eye color.
 

Alpha60

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FinnJames said:
Alpha60 said:
There is a stupid belief in the Eastern Mediterranean region that people with bright eyes, especially blue eyes, are more likely to inadvertently curse something with the evil eye.  This is why those creepy eye amulets widely used by Jews as well as Muslims and superstitious Christians are blue, rather than, say, dark brown.

Does anyone know who makes those amulets and what their history is?  Their provenance is plainly demonic.  I was surprised to find out the purpose of these objects, that an Ashkenazi friend decorated his house and datacenter with.  For that matter I was surprised that Ashkenazim would bother with them, considering how frequently they have brightly colored eyes, and the distance between them and the regions of the Mediterranean, Levant and the former Ottoman Empire, and neighboring lands such as Persia, where this superstition is most commonly encountered.

I think we ought to consider praying for non-Christians to, in a manner that makes them aware of Christ, be delivered from the evil eye and other misfortunes their own religions cannot exorcise, despite valiant efforts (for example, the magical bowls used by Mandaeans to ward off demons, which feature certain Aramaic inscriptions, or the amulet-like use of a miniature Torah scroll or mezuzah on doorposts, et cetera, by Rabinnical Jews, something which the Karaites do not do (neither do the Karaites use phylacteries).  But the Karaites are still relatively out of luck in this department except to the extent that in praying for God to have mercy, they might receive it for reasons similar to those St. John Maximovitch gives with regards to Protestants.
Those evil eye ornaments (nazars) in your Jewish friend's house and data center might just be decorations. They're very popular tourist souvenirs in the eastern Mediterranean. My 'mother-in-law' gave us a small blue glass slab with white and blue iris glued on that she'd bought in the Greek part of Cyprus. It was an evil eye indeed: we hung it in front of the bedroom window, and after some months the iris dropped to the floor. But the blue glass backing is still hanging up.

I think you may be being unfair to many Jews who have a mezuzah on their doorpost when you label them 'amulate-like'. (BYW the mezuzah doesn't contain a 'miniature Torah'--you'd need a huge doorpost for that--but just a few verses from Deuteronomy.) Seeing/touching one can call an observant Jew's mind to God and help him/her behave in a proper manner. I suppose outsiders who don't understand their function might criticize the icons we Orthodox Christians have in our homes as 'amulate-like' as well. But we understand their proper place in the religious life.
The verses in Deuteronomy represent a summary of the Torah; indeed, before St. Ezra instituted the modern synagogue with the weekly Torah lessons as described in Nehemiah, following the return of the Jews from Babylon, the only portion of the Torah Israel would here was this vital section of Deuteronomy, and the function of Sukhot, the Feast of Tabernacles, was to gather them together so that the King, or before him, presumably the High Priest or the Judges, could read to the people this section of Deuteronomy.

Now, if Judaism was like Christianity, I would be imclined to regard the Mezuzah as an icon, and if Karaites or Beta Israel use it, I would be especially so inclined.  However, most forms of Rabinnical Judaism have been, for nearly a thousand years, corrupted by the Kaballah, a system of ritual magic, so mezuzahs, phylacteries and so on become amulets with special spiritual power.  And indeed the Kaballah has influenced the Rabinnical Jewish liturgy, creating notable differences between it and the Karaite liturgy (in like manner, the Samaritan liturgy and Samaritan theology have been influenced by Islamic ideas about God).

~

I love and respect the Jewish people, and believe Christians can learn a lot by studying Judaism, especially those forms of it that are the least associated with Kaballah; there are a few Orthodox Jews who reject Kaballah.  And we know that in antiquity, from the icons at the beautiful synagogue in Dura Europos that ISIS destroyed (which I think should be rebuilt), Judaism and Christianity were much alike.  I have no doubt that ancient Judaism and Hebrew worship is something that, if we were transported back in time, we would find very much akin to Christianity, the main difference being the animal sacrifices which were replaced by the rational sacrifice of the Eucharist.

And I believe the Beta Israel and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church most clearly preserve what Judaism would have looked like in the centuries following the descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost.  For the Beta Israel practice a religion almost identical to Ethiopian Orthodoxy, differing only in that it lacks the Gospel, the Cross and the Eucharist, and relies on animal sacrifices like ancient Judaism or contemporary Samaritanism on Passover.
 

WPM

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Why not slowly become Orthodox Jewish over the years? . . .
 

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Arachne said:
Alpha60 said:
There is a stupid belief in the Eastern Mediterranean region that people with bright eyes, especially blue eyes, are more likely to inadvertently curse something with the evil eye.  This is why those creepy eye amulets widely used by Jews as well as Muslims and superstitious Christians are blue, rather than, say, dark brown.
The appearance of something unusual is taken as a sign of either fortune or misfortune - that's literally how superstition works. Light-coloured eyes are relatively rare among the Mediterranean people, hence, suspicious. Just like albinism is considered an omen of disaster among many African people. It's all about fear of the unfamiliar.
What makes the fear of albinos so insidious is that at least in parts of East Africa, albinos are sometimes killed so that their bones are ground up to made up into some kind of magical healing powder.  The practice is of course illegal, but like honor killings, it still happens and the law is unevenly enforced.
 

WPM

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Alpha60 said:
FinnJames said:
Alpha60 said:
There is a stupid belief in the Eastern Mediterranean region that people with bright eyes, especially blue eyes, are more likely to inadvertently curse something with the evil eye.  This is why those creepy eye amulets widely used by Jews as well as Muslims and superstitious Christians are blue, rather than, say, dark brown.

Does anyone know who makes those amulets and what their history is?  Their provenance is plainly demonic.  I was surprised to find out the purpose of these objects, that an Ashkenazi friend decorated his house and datacenter with.  For that matter I was surprised that Ashkenazim would bother with them, considering how frequently they have brightly colored eyes, and the distance between them and the regions of the Mediterranean, Levant and the former Ottoman Empire, and neighboring lands such as Persia, where this superstition is most commonly encountered.

I think we ought to consider praying for non-Christians to, in a manner that makes them aware of Christ, be delivered from the evil eye and other misfortunes their own religions cannot exorcise, despite valiant efforts (for example, the magical bowls used by Mandaeans to ward off demons, which feature certain Aramaic inscriptions, or the amulet-like use of a miniature Torah scroll or mezuzah on doorposts, et cetera, by Rabinnical Jews, something which the Karaites do not do (neither do the Karaites use phylacteries).  But the Karaites are still relatively out of luck in this department except to the extent that in praying for God to have mercy, they might receive it for reasons similar to those St. John Maximovitch gives with regards to Protestants.
Those evil eye ornaments (nazars) in your Jewish friend's house and data center might just be decorations. They're very popular tourist souvenirs in the eastern Mediterranean. My 'mother-in-law' gave us a small blue glass slab with white and blue iris glued on that she'd bought in the Greek part of Cyprus. It was an evil eye indeed: we hung it in front of the bedroom window, and after some months the iris dropped to the floor. But the blue glass backing is still hanging up.

I think you may be being unfair to many Jews who have a mezuzah on their doorpost when you label them 'amulate-like'. (BYW the mezuzah doesn't contain a 'miniature Torah'--you'd need a huge doorpost for that--but just a few verses from Deuteronomy.) Seeing/touching one can call an observant Jew's mind to God and help him/her behave in a proper manner. I suppose outsiders who don't understand their function might criticize the icons we Orthodox Christians have in our homes as 'amulate-like' as well. But we understand their proper place in the religious life.
The verses in Deuteronomy represent a summary of the Torah; indeed, before St. Ezra instituted the modern synagogue with the weekly Torah lessons as described in Nehemiah, following the return of the Jews from Babylon, the only portion of the Torah Israel would here was this vital section of Deuteronomy, and the function of Sukhot, the Feast of Tabernacles, was to gather them together so that the King, or before him, presumably the High Priest or the Judges, could read to the people this section of Deuteronomy.

Now, if Judaism was like Christianity, I would be imclined to regard the Mezuzah as an icon, and if Karaites or Beta Israel use it, I would be especially so inclined.  However, most forms of Rabinnical Judaism have been, for nearly a thousand years, corrupted by the Kaballah, a system of ritual magic, so mezuzahs, phylacteries and so on become amulets with special spiritual power.  And indeed the Kaballah has influenced the Rabinnical Jewish liturgy, creating notable differences between it and the Karaite liturgy (in like manner, the Samaritan liturgy and Samaritan theology have been influenced by Islamic ideas about God).

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I love and respect the Jewish people, and believe Christians can learn a lot by studying Judaism, especially those forms of it that are the least associated with Kaballah; there are a few Orthodox Jews who reject Kaballah.  And we know that in antiquity, from the icons at the beautiful synagogue in Dura Europos that ISIS destroyed (which I think should be rebuilt), Judaism and Christianity were much alike.  I have no doubt that ancient Judaism and Hebrew worship is something that, if we were transported back in time, we would find very much akin to Christianity, the main difference being the animal sacrifices which were replaced by the rational sacrifice of the Eucharist.

And I believe the Beta Israel and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church most clearly preserve what Judaism would have looked like in the centuries following the descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost.  For the Beta Israel practice a religion almost identical to Ethiopian Orthodoxy, differing only in that it lacks the Gospel, the Cross and the Eucharist, and relies on animal sacrifices like ancient Judaism or contemporary Samaritanism on Passover.
The Jewish people in Israel go to the Western Wall to pray.
 
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