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Etiquette - A Civilizing Process, Manners In Modern Times, Bibliography

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The practice of etiquette has been central to all cultures and civilizations because it functions to establish boundaries of proper comportment in the realm of social relations and hierarchies. The Bible contained imperatives to regulate indecorous behavior, with the Book of Ecclesiastes advising one to "Eat as it becometh a man … and devour not, lest thou be hated," while in the Talmud, the importance of controlling the self's more primal urges is asserted in enjoinments against licking fingers, belching, drinking wine in one gulp, or giving off "an offensive odor." Even more important was the manner in which etiquette prescribed deference toward teachers, elders, social superiors, and those at the center of power; according to an Egyptian conduct book dating from 2000 B.C.E., not only is it "worthy" when a "son hearkens to his father," but so should one practice flattery towards a superior, for example, by "laugh[ing] when he laughs."

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