Aug 092008
 
Began reading a book called Blasphemy: Verbal Offenses Against the Sacred, From Moses to Salman Rushdie, by Leonard Levy. It’s been on my shelf for years, but I figured it was time to bone up on it, as it’s possible I’ll be called a blasphemer at some point soon, so I might as well know what I’m being accused of. I won’t bother to summarize it, but I learned a few interesting facts about the history of insulting gods: 1) “For most of history, blasphemers have been devout Christians” --- it’s usually different sects of a religion that consider each others blasphemers; only rarely and recently are non-believers considered blasphemers. 2) Many sacred texts including the Hebrew Bible, declares that blasphemy, like idolatry, cannot be endured; 3) In fact, in strict Jewish tradition, merely saying God’s name is considered blasphemy (hence they use the letters “YHVH” instead).

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