Anathema

Anathema [E] [H] [S]

See Curse, Accursed

Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology. Edited by Walter A. Elwell
Copyright © 1996 by Walter A. Elwell. Published by Baker Books, a division of
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[E] indicates this entry was also found in Easton's Bible Dictionary
[H] indicates this entry was also found in Hitchcock's Bible Names
[S] indicates this entry was also found in Smith's Bible Dictionary

Bibliography Information

Elwell, Walter A. "Entry for 'Anathema'". "Evangelical Dictionary of Theology". . 1997.

Anathema [B] [H] [S]

anything laid up or suspended; hence anything laid up in a temple or set apart as sacred. In this sense the form of the word is anath(ee)ma , once in plural used in the Greek New Testament, in Luke 21:5 , where it is rendered "gifts." In the LXX. the form anathema is generally used as the rendering of the Hebrew word herem , derived from a verb which means (1) to consecrate or devote; and (2) to exterminate. Any object so devoted to the Lord could not be redeemed ( Numbers 18:14 ; Leviticus 27:28 Leviticus 27:29 ); and hence the idea of exterminating connected with the word. The Hebrew verb (haram) is frequently used of the extermination of idolatrous nations. It had a wide range of application. The anathema_ or _herem was a person or thing irrevocably devoted to God ( Leviticus 27:21 Leviticus 27:28 ); and "none devoted shall be ransomed. He shall surely be put to death" ( 27:29 ). The word therefore carried the idea of devoted to destruction ( Numbers 21:2 Numbers 21:3 ; Joshua 6:17 ); and hence generally it meant a thing accursed. In Deuteronomy 7:26 an idol is called a herem = anathema , a thing accursed.

In the New Testament this word always implies execration. In some cases an individual denounces an anathema on himself unless certain conditions are fulfilled ( Acts 23:12 Acts 23:14 Acts 23:21 ). "To call Jesus accursed" [anathema] ( 1 Corinthians 12:3 ) is to pronounce him execrated or accursed. If any one preached another gospel, the apostle says, "let him be accursed" ( Galatians 1:8 Galatians 1:9 ); i.e., let his conduct in so doing be accounted accursed.

In Romans 9:3 , the expression "accursed" (anathema) from Christ, i.e., excluded from fellowship or alliance with Christ, has occasioned much difficulty. The apostle here does not speak of his wish as a possible thing. It is simply a vehement expression of feeling, showing how strong was his desire for the salvation of his people.

The anathema in 1 Corinthians 16:22 denotes simply that they who love not the Lord are rightly objects of loathing and execration to all holy beings; they are guilty of a crime that merits the severest condemnation; they are exposed to the just sentence of "everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord."

These dictionary topics are from
M.G. Easton M.A., D.D., Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition,
published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain, copy freely.

[B] indicates this entry was also found in Baker's Evangelical Dictionary
[H] indicates this entry was also found in Hitchcock's Bible Names
[S] indicates this entry was also found in Smith's Bible Dictionary

Bibliography Information

Easton, Matthew George. "Entry for Anathema". "Easton's Bible Dictionary". .

Anathema [B] [E] [S]

separated; set apart
Hitchcock's Dictionary of Bible Names. Public Domain. Copy freely.

[B] indicates this entry was also found in Baker's Evangelical Dictionary
[E] indicates this entry was also found in Easton's Bible Dictionary
[S] indicates this entry was also found in Smith's Bible Dictionary

Bibliography Information

Hitchcock, Roswell D. "Entry for 'Anathema'". "An Interpreting Dictionary of Scripture Proper Names". . New York, N.Y., 1869.

Anathema

An accursed thing.

If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be ANATHEMA Maranatha. ( 1 Corinthians 1:1 Romans 16:22 )

Source: A King James Dictionary. (Used with permission. Copyright © Philip P. Kapusta)

Bibliography Information

"Entry for 'Anathema'". A King James Dictionary.

Anathema, [B] [E] [H]

which literally means a thing suspended, is the equivalent of the Hebrew word signifying a thing or person voted. Any object so devoted to Jehovah was irredeemable. If an inanimate object, it was to be given to the priests, ( Numbers 18:14 ) if a living creature or even a man, it was to be slain. ( Leviticus 27:28 Leviticus 27:29 ) The word anathema frequently occurs in St. Pauls writings, and is generally translated accused. An examination of the passages in which it occurs shows that it had acquired a more general sense as expressive either of strong feeling, ( Romans 9:3 ) or of dislike and condemnation. ( 1 Corinthians 12:3 ; 16:22 ; Galatians 1:9 )


[B] indicates this entry was also found in Baker's Evangelical Dictionary
[E] indicates this entry was also found in Easton's Bible Dictionary
[H] indicates this entry was also found in Hitchcock's Bible Names

Bibliography Information

Smith, William, Dr. "Entry for 'Anathema,'". "Smith's Bible Dictionary". . 1901.

ANATHEMA

a-nath'-e-ma (anathema):

This word occurs only once in the King James Version, namely, in the phrase "Let him be anathema. Maranatha" (1 Corinthians 16:22); elsewhere the King James Version renders anathema by "accursed" (Romans 9:3; 1 Corinthians 12:3; Galatians 1:8,9), once by "curse" (Acts 23:12). Both words--anathema and anathema--were originally dialectical variations and had the same connotation, namely, offering to the gods. The non-Attic form--anathema--was adopted in the Septuagint as a rendering of the Hebrew cherem (see ACCURSED), and gradually came to have the significance of the Hebrew word--"anything devoted to destruction." Whereas in the Greek Fathers anathema--as cherem in rabbinic Hebrew-- came to denote excommunication from society, in the New Testament the word has its full force. In common speech it evidently became a strong expression of execration, and the term connoted more than physical destruction; it invariably implied moral worthlessness. In Romans 9:3 Paul does not simply mean that, for the sake of his fellow-countrymen, he is prepared to face death, but to endure the moral degradation of an outcast from the kingdom of Christ. In 1 Corinthians 12:3 the expression, "Jesus is anathema"--with its suggestion of moral unfitness--reaches the lowest depths of depreciation, as the expression, "Jesus is Lord," reaches the summit of appreciation.

Thomas Lewis


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These files are public domain.

Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Entry for 'ANATHEMA'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". 1915.