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Bible Dictionaries

Charles Buck Theological Dictionary


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From the Greek according to Dr. Campbell, properly denotes calumny, detraction, reproachful or abusive language, against whomsoever it be vented. It is in Scripture applied to reproaches not aimed against God only, but man also, Romans 3:8 . Romans 14:16 . 1 Peter 4:4 . Gr. It is, however, more peculiarly restrained to evil or reproachful words offered to God. According to Linwood, blasphemy is an injury offered to God, by denying that which is due and belonging to him, or attributing to him what is not agreeable to his nature.

"Three things, " says a divine, "are essential to this crime;

1. God must be the object.

2. The words spoken or written, independent of consequences which others may derive from them, must be injurious in their nature.

3. He who commits the crime must do it knowingly. This is real blasphemy; but there is a relative blasphemy, as when a man may be guilty ignorantly by propagating opinions which dishonour God, the tendency of which he does not perceive.

A man may be guilty of this constructively: for if he speak freely against received errors , it will be construed into blasphemy."

By the English laws, blasphemies of God, as denying his being or providence, and all contumelious reproaches of Jesus Christ, &c. are offences by the common law, and punishable by fine, imprisonment, and pillory; and, by the statute law, he that denies one of the persons in the Trinity, or asserts that there are more than one God, or denies Christianity to be true, for the first offence is rendered incapable of any office; for the second, adjudged incapable of suing, being executor or guardian, receiving any gift or legacy, and to be imprisoned for years. According to the law of Scotland, blasphemy is punished with death: these laws, however, in the present age, are not enforced; the legislature thinking, perhaps, that spiritual offences should be left to be punished by the Deity rather than by human statutes.

Campbell's Prel. Dess. vol. 1: p. 395; Robinson's Script. Plea, p. 58.

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Buck, Charles. Entry for 'Blasphemy'. Charles Buck Theological Dictionary. 1802.

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