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  • Author or Editor: Haralampos Passalis x
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Abstract:

Although belief narratives and charms are regarded as two different folklore genres with different modes of transmission, performance and function, they are both in a constant dialectical relationship, yielding mutual feedback. One of the main forms of this interactive relationship concerns the etiology of a dis-ease (construction of a dis-order, i.e. belief narratives) and its therapeutic treatment (restoration of order, i.e. charms). This relationship between the cause of diseases and their treatment is clearly reflected in a Christian content belief narrative closely associated with incantations used to heal abdominal diseases. The basic personage embodying this belief narrative – registered in many and different areas of Greece – is the figure of a monk or Christ himself, who, often disguised as a beggar, is hosted by a family. Violations of both religious norms associated with fasting and social ethics connected with accepted behaviour towards a guest have as a result the manifestation of an abdominal disease, which eventually the monk or Christ treats using an incantation. This article shows that the parallel analysis of legends and charms, where possible, is necessary since it can provide useful information, not only on the ways by which the charm text is produced and reproduced, but also on the position and status of the genre in the context of a wider folk religious system. Furthermore, it could contribute to the understanding of the charm text, without which the knowledge of the belief narrative is often incomprehensible, if not nonsensical.

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