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De Juramento

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Chapter Summary

This chapter treats the lawful and the unlawful use of the oath. Among the ancient Jews it was the Essenes who were foremost in condemning every true and false oath equally, as Josephus reports. The invocation of God's name reveals that it is a religious act; therefore people of all times have been accustomed to follow some religious rituals in taking solemn oaths. In observing them one must be careful to guard against superstition and idolatry. Lawful oaths have as their subject the things one says or promises. The conditions that are requisite in every lawful oath pertain to the right use of the vows that belong to this promissory kind of oath. From this it is clear that one must condemn all vows that are made to creatures, or that are spoken rashly or about things that are forbidden or not within one's control.

Keywords: Essenes; God; idolatry; Josephus; oath; religious rituals



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