Blasphemy and the Abrahamic Faiths (THE3195)

30 credits

This module will focus on the evolving concept of blasphemy as articulated in Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Attention will be given to exploring how notions of blasphemy have historically interacted with understandings of sacredness, and enabled religious communities to establish boundaries of acceptable speech and action. Focus will also be placed on the changing relationship between blasphemy and law, with consideration given to whether governments should legislate against the religiously offensive. As well as examining such concepts more broadly, later parts of the module will focus in detail on a number of case-studies from the last half-century, such as the controversy surrounding Monty Python’s Life of Brian, the publication of Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses and the appearance of cartoons depicting Muhammad in the Danish press.