Date: Wed, 22 Oct 1997 18:00:58 -0400

From: Gregory {Greg} Downing downingg[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]IS2.NYU.EDU

Subject: Re: Bless You

At 05:15 PM 10/22/97 PDT, you (Amy Schroeder ashroede[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]COUNSEL.COM ) wrote:

My sixth grade teacher, rest her soul, insisted that we say God Bless You,

because, in her opinion, when you sneezed your spirit literally left your

body. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't there some ancient Greek source

for this, something along the lines of one's spirit inhabiting the breath?

It's a very common belief in many (hmmm, is nonmodern the right term?)

cultures, including ancient Greek. Though he's no longer considered

factually reliable in many regards, James Frazer's _The Golden Bough_ is I

imagine reliable enough on this very common belief. Check his indexes. Since

you breathe when you are alive and when you stop breathing you are dead,

breath = life, and breathing out the wrong way is dangerous. Cf. covering

one's mouth. (Of course, there are both "practical" and "superstititous"

reasons for these things I'm sure.)

Gregory {Greg} Downing, at greg.downing[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] or downingg[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]