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The Derivation of kordiakos: A New Proposal

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The medical term kordiakos (m. Git. 7:1) is derived not from the anatomical situs of disease, but from the harmful action of a pathogenic demon who acts upon the "heart" to effect a husband's legal incompetence. This is consistent with the Talmud's own definition of kordiakos as the name of a spirit. The Talmud's interest in tales of Solomon's mastery of the demons (b. Git. 67b-71b) is due to the derivation of kordiakos from the verb καρδιóω in Song 4:9 (LXX), which readers understood to describe the enchantment whereby Solomon was led to his own moral collapse (1 Kgs 11:1-10).

Affiliations: 1: Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, USA


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