A battlefield, it seems, unfolds before our eyes in the first nine verses of Paul’s Galatian letter, with clearly drawn lines of demarcation between the camps, portending a fierce fight to the death against dissidents and enemies who have invaded Paul’s missionary domain like a band of marauding assailants. And Paul strikes back. The curse formula of an Anathma that he hurls at the never-named adversaries is more than just words. It “does” something: it functions as a weapon no less efficient than the deadly spears, arrows, and snake-pots that we see in action on the Pergamene Frieze. In Paul’s world, a curse effectively engages the power to destroy someone and expel them from the community. As preachers of an other gospel, Paul’s opponents are doomed at least to excommunication, if not extinction.

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