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Divine Bodies by Candida R. Moss;

Author:Candida R. Moss;

Language: eng

Format: epub

Publisher: Yale University Press

Published: 2019-07-06T16:00:00+00:00

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Divine Bodies by Candida R. Moss;

WOUNDS AND SMELLS

Elsewhere in Revelation, the association of class and aesthetics bleeds into the medicinal, particularly in the contrasting portrayal of the effects of the mark of the beast and the seal of the blessed. In Rev 13:16–17 everyone (“both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave”) was required to receive a mark that would enable him or her to participate in commerce. The majority of scholarship identifies those with the mark as merchants and traders, but in the world of the text anyone could prosper by colluding with the beast.58 At the pouring out of the first bowl, however, those who had accepted the mark of the beast now received a “painful and foul-smelling wound” (16:2). Those who did not worship the beast are instead sealed by the angel with a kind of impression (sphragis). Even in English, there is a clear juxtaposition between the mark of the beast and the seal of the Lord, both of which serve as outward identifiers of allegiance, identity, and ethical nature. As the mark of the beast turns to a festering wound, the inner comportment of beast worshippers is made outwardly visible. The language of open wounds draws out a different, medically grounded, contrast with the seal. The term sphragis, used here for the impression of the Lord, refers in medical writers to poultices applied to an open wound. The mark of the beast leads to a festering disfiguring wound; the seal of the Lord, on the other hand, is a curative that seals the body.59

The wound that now afflicted those who had received the mark of the beast was not only painful, but also disfiguring in ways that could not easily be concealed. Some have hypothesized that the sores are related to leprosy or even plague, conditions that would have left the sufferer ostracized from society. More prosaically, we might assume that the wounds, like the marks, are found on the hand and head, two locations open to inspection and evaluation. Even if they were not, the “foul-smelling” odor alerted the potential viewer to the wound.60

 

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Divine Bodies by Candida R. Moss;

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Divine Bodies by Candida R. Moss;

Author:Candida R. Moss; , Date: July 7, 2019

,Views: 43

Author:Candida R. Moss;

Language: eng

Format: epub

Publisher: Yale University Press

Published: 2019-07-06T16:00:00+00:00
WOUNDS AND SMELLS

Elsewhere in Revelation, the association of class and aesthetics bleeds into the medicinal, particularly in the contrasting portrayal of the effects of the mark of the beast and the seal of the blessed. In Rev 13:16–17 everyone (“both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave”) was required to receive a mark that would enable him or her to participate in commerce. The majority of scholarship identifies those with the mark as merchants and traders, but in the world of the text anyone could prosper by colluding with the beast.58 At the pouring out of the first bowl, however, those who had accepted the mark of the beast now received a “painful and foul-smelling wound” (16:2). Those who did not worship the beast are instead sealed by the angel with a kind of impression (sphragis). Even in English, there is a clear juxtaposition between the mark of the beast and the seal of the Lord, both of which serve as outward identifiers of allegiance, identity, and ethical nature. As the mark of the beast turns to a festering wound, the inner comportment of beast worshippers is made outwardly visible. The language of open wounds draws out a different, medically grounded, contrast with the seal. The term sphragis, used here for the impression of the Lord, refers in medical writers to poultices applied to an open wound. The mark of the beast leads to a festering disfiguring wound; the seal of the Lord, on the other hand, is a curative that seals the body.59

The wound that now afflicted those who had received the mark of the beast was not only painful, but also disfiguring in ways that could not easily be concealed. Some have hypothesized that the sores are related to leprosy or even plague, conditions that would have left the sufferer ostracized from society. More prosaically, we might assume that the wounds, like the marks, are found on the hand and head, two locations open to inspection and evaluation. Even if they were not, the “foul-smelling” odor alerted the potential viewer to the wound.60

In the social world of Revelation, there were medical treatments for these kinds of afflictions. Pliny remarks that sores on the head and face could be treated with myrrh, for example. According to a number of sources, medical patches or plasters were also commonly prescribed as a means of treatment. But efforts to conceal and treat open wounds could convey mixed social messages: freed slaves would sometimes use these patches, Pliny tells us, to cover branding marks that betrayed their origins. Thus, just as the blind in medieval England found their bodies criminalized when blinding became a punishment for theft, those who had received the mark of the beast found their social status elided by the wounds.61

In this way, Revelation positions the damned as both ugly and déclassé. Vile bodily odors that, in other rhetorical contexts, were associated with taboo liminal professions like tanning now seep from the bodies of the affluent damned.

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