"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

The Evil Eye

Growing up in WASP culture in late-20th-century North America I blithely assumed that the "evil eye" was some superstitious old nonsense nobody today could possibly take seriously, and had accordingly died out long ago. International travels, not least to Eastern Europe, forced me out of my lazy assumptions--later aided by a book I have often recommended on here by the anthropologist Juliet du Boulay. 

Along comes a new book by a scholar and practicing psychotherapist that looks at this whole phenomenon anew: Evil Eye in Christian Orthodox Society: A Journey from Envy to Personhood by Nikolaos Souvlakis (Berghahn Books, 2021), 262pp. 

About this book the publisher tells us this:

Evil eye is a phenomenon observed globally and has to do with the misfortune and calamities that we can cause to someone else out of jealousy of their possessions. The book engages with evil eye beliefs in Corfu and investigates the Christian Orthodox influences on the phenomenon and how it affects individuals’ reactions to it. Developing an interdisciplinary dialogue, it offers a fresh view of evil eye as a facilitator of wellbeing rather than a generator of calamities.

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