Blasphemy: A Very Short Introducton (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
In a world where not everyone believes in God, 'blasphemy' is surely a concept that has passed its use-by-date. And yet blasphemy (like God and religion) seems to be on the rise. In this Very Short Introduction Yvonne Sherwood asks why this should be the case, looking at factors such as the increased visibility of religious and racial minorities, new media, and engines of surveillance (which are far more omniscient than the old gods could ever be), and the legacies of colonial blasphemy laws. Throughout, Sherwood uncovers new histories, from the story of accidentally blasphemous cartoons, to the close associations between blasphemy, sex, and birth control. She also argues that blasphemy itself involves an inherent contradiction in imagining the divine as an entity that must be revered above all, yet also a being that could possibly be hurt by anything that happens in the merely human sphere. Unpicking some of the most famous cases of blasphemy, Sherwood also looks at obscure instances, asking why some 'blasphemies' have become infamous, while others have disappeared. Very Short Introductions: Brilliant, Sharp, Inspiring ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Yvonne Sherwood, Professor of Religious Studies, University of Kent Yvonne Sherwood has spent thirty years teaching in British universities, including Kings College London, the University of Glasgow, and the University of Kent. She has had fellowships and grants from the British Academy; was the Speakers Lecturer at the University of Oxford in 2015; and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Oslo in 2017. Her many books include Biblical Blaspheming: Trials of the Sacred for a Secular Age (2012) shortlisted for the American Academy Awards for Excellence Book Prize; The Invention of the Biblical Scholar: A Critical Manifesto (with Stephen D. Moore, 2011); and The Bible and Feminism: Remapping the Field (2017).