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anathema (ənăˈthĭmə) [key] [Gr., = something set up; dedicated to a divinity as a votive offering], term that came to denote something devoted to a divinity for destruction. In the Bible, the term is herem. Anathema means "accursed" in the New Testament, where it clearly suggests separation from God as the penalty. In the early Church and in Judaism contemporaneous with it, it was a penalty conveyed by a decree of excommunication.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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