Date: Thu, 23 Oct 1997 09:32:32 -0400 From: Robert Ness Subject: Re: Bless You And for breath as the divine afflatus, see Jonathan Swift's A Tale of a Tub, Section 1. On Wed, 22 Oct 1997, Gregory {Greg} Downing wrote: > At 05:15 PM 10/22/97 PDT, you (Amy Schroeder ) 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] >