Re: OUAI = "DAMN"?

From: Steve Long (
Date: Mon Sep 14 1998 - 08:57:25 EDT

>Unfortunately, Ben, some who might read the bible today have never heard
>of the
>Andrews Sisters. I believe Jane Harper is on the money when she emphasises the
>contemporary expression. Perhaps "Damn" is not the right word, but "Woe"
>does not
>figure in my vocabulary, except when I am preaching, and (pace Jim West)
>the pew
>sitters are the only ones in this small village who have any idea of a
>"woe." (I
>would disagree with Jim West and his impression of the audience of Jesus
>but that is
>a long debate.) Certainly the children who don't come to church have never
>heard the
>word, but they certainly have heard "damn" in many varied circumstances
>which may or
>may not actually correspond with what the translators (and pew sitters)
>understand as
>its meaning.
>I suggest that we do need to have a contemporary expression of the curses and
>blessings found throughout the bible. Carl Conrad's thoughts on the matter
>start us on the way. OUAI comprehends the facets of meaning which as AKM Adam
>suggests can be expressed in crude and not so crude expressions which are
>more in
>tune with modern usage.

I think one of the reasons we're having so much trouble finding a modern
idiom is that this is not a modern sentiment being expressed. I've gone to
churches all my life and never heard a preacher say "Woe to you" and have
it directed at individuals in the congregation. The pronouncement of curses
is generally frowned upon. ;-) "You better watch out" is as close as I've
heard and that's seems way short of OUAI hUMIN.

The Bible in Basic English translates it "A curse is on you", which to my
mind is a more modern idiom and since it's indicative, avoids the causitive
nature of "Damn You". "Grief and despair are yours" might work, it gives
the core meaning of OUAI.


Steve Long
Saint Peters, Missouri

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