General Question

ellespark's avatar

What other cultures have something similar to The Ark of the Covenant or Pandora's Box?

Asked by ellespark (519points) January 24th, 2019

My kiddo just got the two confused and it was pretty funny and got me thinking what other cultures have something similar? Like a mystical/sacred/magic/holy object that shouldn’t be opened.

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12 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

The demons of hell in the 2016 game “Doom” have such a story about the sarcophagus that they sealed the Doom Slayer in.

Zaku's avatar

Probably quite a few or nearly all of them (depending on how broad a definition you’d accept), if you look hard enough into their oral story traditions. I expect it’s a pan-cultural story archetypal element.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Alladin’s lamp. The Holy Grail (is that the same thing as the Arc of the Covenant?)

ellespark's avatar

@Dutchess_III eh, I wouldn’t say those are the same. I’m thinking more objects like boxes that are forbidden from being opened.

Dutchess_III's avatar

OK. Trying not to google here! I’ll see what my brain can come up with.

Yellowdog's avatar

Well, I think @Dutchess_III is correct about Alladin’s lamp. A Djinn is pretty much the same entity as a demon. Aren’t they similar if not the same in their original culture? I imagine a Djinn could lead a person to ruin pretty quickly once released. Or maybe a Djinn has a warped sense of humor about how to interpret those wishes,

Rubbing a lamp and having wishes granted is a temptation almost no one could resist. I know I’d sure give it a whirl. I’m not sure I’d even care about any consequences. And, knowing the nature of powerful entities and human desires, I’m sure it would end in nothing good.

Zaku's avatar

@Yellowdog I think you are correct that it’s the same story type, but the moral is different.

Djinn are like demons in that they are mysterious and awesomely dangerous magical creatures that it’s very dangerous to deal with. However djinn are not generally thought to be necessarily evil in the same way that Christian (and Islamic) demons are considered definitely evil. Djinn may be evil or good or neither.

In the stories of Djinn, too, it’s not always for the worst to deal with them.

Yellowdog's avatar

I know that you are correct as usual.

But the moral is, whether the entities are actively evil or just inexplicably powerful, maybe even divine like the cherubim, seraphim, or the divine shekinah of the Ark of the Covenant, or a bonded servitor who must grant you wishes—well, we stupid mortals want our wishes granted or maybe try to manipulate or master the power and have really bad consequences for getting what we thought we wanted, or the inexplicable and capricious divine power does really bad things to us for touching or opening or summoning—eternal confinement, total devastation of one’s life or person, etc etc.

Zaku's avatar

@Yellowdog That is a universal moral to one degree or another, but in a Christian story, dealing with demons is pretty much evil by definition on top of that universal wisdom, and gets you in trouble with additional Christian judgements on top of the intrinsic issues with playing with magic fire and so on.

In a djinn story from e.g. The 1001 Arabian Nights, while it’s dangerous and easily accidentally life-ruining to deal with djinn, it’s not soul-damning or intrinsically evil, and in is sometimes a way to a good outcome.

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