Blasphemy

Verbal Offense Against the Sacred, From Moses to Salman Rushdie

By Leonard W. Levy

Blasphemy

700 pp., 6.125 x 9.25

Not for Sale in British Commonwealth except Canada

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-4515-8
    Published: February 1995

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Leonard Levy traces the varied meanings of blasphemy throughout Western law. He argues that while past sanctions against the crime have inhibited all manner of cultural, political, scientific, and literary expression, we also pay a price for our extraordinary expansion of the scope of permissible speech. We have become, he charges, not only a free society but one that is 'numb' to outrage.

About the Author

Leonard W. Levy was Andrew W. Mellon All-Claremont Professor Emeritus of Humanities at the Claremont Graduate School and author of The Establishment Clause: Religion and the First Amendment and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Origins of the Fifth Amendment.
For more information about Leonard W. Levy, visit the Author Page.

Reviews

"A tour de force of lively writing and keen historical interpretation. . . . This work is both an essential casebook and an outspoken, feisty, important study of the struggle for intellectual and religious liberties."--Publishers Weekly

"What could be more essential reading in this age of religious frenzy than Leonard Levy's cool and compelling account of the rise, fall, and rise again of the crime of blasphemy?"--Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.

"Levy's curiosity ranges far and wide, and his erudite explorations take us beyond blasphemy and into perennial disputes involving sedition, heresy, obscenity, profanity, nonconformity, subversion, conspiracy and disturbing the peace."--New York Times Book Review

"The main strength of Levy's Blasphemy is its rich historical rendering of the crime of blasphemy and the evolution of that crime in Anglo-American law."--Quarterly Journal of

"The main strength of Levy's Blasphemy is its rich historical rendering of the crime of blasphemy and the evolution of that crime in Anglo-American law."--Quarterly Journal of SpeechSpeech