Religious and ideologically motivated taboos

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Religious ideologies are distinguished from non-religious ideologies but they are closely enough related that the proverb cuius regio, eius religio should be rephrased cuius regio, eius idealogia with wider application and truth. This chapter elaborates on the names for—and terms of address to—gods and their cohorts, which are comparable with those used for other powerful dominators such as sovereigns and dictators and their courts. All ideological taboos arise from perceived traducing of dogma, and/or insult to revered and/or intimidating persons, institutions, and objects. Focusing (where feasible) on the relevant applicable language, this chapter differentiates and discusses the taboos of heresy, blasphemy, and profanity, exemplifying from the histories and treatment of traitors, heretics, witches, martyrs, blasphemers, and profaners from the time of the Maccabees around 200 bce to the Charlie Hebdo massacre in 2015.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Taboo Words and Language
EditorsKeith Allan
Place of PublicationOxford UK
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)9780198808190
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Blasphemy
  • Christianity
  • Heresy
  • Islam
  • Judaism
  • Martyrdom
  • Names
  • Profanity

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