Terms

Positively Sacred - Negatively Sacred

Positively Sacred - Negatively Sacred (Benveniste (1969 II: 179 ff.) has clarified the dual nature of the Indo-Europeans¹ idea of sacrality as evidenced by their vocabulary: that which is ³charged with divine power² is ³positively sacred² (Av. spenta-, Germanic *hailaz, Lat. Sanctus, Gr. Hieròs); that which ³contact is forbidden for man² (Av. yaozdata-, Germanic *wihaz, Lat. Sacer, Gr. Hàgios) is ³negatively sacred². A corresponding duality is found in the terms for religious observance, expressed on the one hand by verbs denoting either ³to cause to grow, to strengthen² or one of the sacrifical operations, and on the other by those denoting religious attitude: the fear of offending a god, even involuntarly, but at the same time confidence in and even familiarity with the gods, especially in the case of some of them. In Vedic India the bonds of Varuna/Oath are held in awe, but Indra is treated as a ³comrade² (yùj-). Indo-European religion contains strict prohibitions, but is a religion of freemen (Neckel 1920: 134; Höfler 1971: 371 ff.) See website General Characteristics under Two Poles Positively Sacred - Negatively Sacred Sanctus Sacer Hieros Hagios Hailaz Wihaz Spenta Yaozdata cf. Manfiest Not Manfiest
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