Negotiating the Sacred

Negotiating the Sacred

Blasphemy and Sacrilege in a Multicultural Society

Edited by: Elizabeth Burns Coleman, Kevin White
Download/view free formats
PDF (1.3MB)PDF chaptersRead online (HTML)


This cross-disciplinary exploration of the role of the sacred, blasphemy and sacrilege in a multicultural society brings together philosophers, theologians, lawyers, historians, curators, anthropologists and sociologists, as well as Christian, Jewish and Islamic and secular perspectives. In bringing together different disciplinary and cultural approaches, the book provides a way of broadening our conceptions of what might count as sacred, sacrilegious and blasphemous, in moral and political terms. In addition, it provides original research data on blasphemy, sacrilege and religious tolerance from a range of disciplines.

The book is presented in four sections:

Section I: Religion Sacrilege and Blasphemy in Australia.
Section II: Sacrilege and the Sacred
Section III: The State, Religion and Tolerance
Section IV: The Future: Openness and Dogmatism.

The book will appeal to both those actively involved in religious negotiation and to scholars and students of religion in history, philosophy, anthropology, sociology and political science.


ISBN (print):
ISBN (online):
Publication date:
Jun 2006
ANU Press
Arts & Humanities: Cultural Studies, Philosophy & Religion

PDF Chapters

Negotiating the Sacred »

Please read Conditions of use before downloading the formats.

  1. Negotiating the sacred in multicultural societies (PDF, 135KB)

Section I. Religion, Sacrilege and Blasphemy in Australia

  1. Negotiating religious dialogue: A response to the recent increase of anti-Semitism in Australia (PDF, 144KB)
  2. Are we capable of offending God? Taking blasphemy seriously (PDF, 141KB)
  3. A flaw in the nation-building process: Negotiating the sacred in our multicultural society (PDF, 113KB)
  4. The paradox of Islam and the challenges of modernity (PDF, 130KB)

Section II. Sacrilege and the Sacred

  1. Stretching the sacred (PDF, 151KB)
  2. Sacralising the profane, profaning the sacred (PDF, 127KB)
  3. Is that a human skull? All in the name of art! (PDF, 156KB)
  4. The bourgeois sacred: Unveiling the ‘secular society’ (PDF, 114KB)

Section III. The State, Religion and Tolerance

  1. Sacrilege: From public crime to personal offence (PDF, 122KB)
  2. Expressions of religiosity and blasphemy in modern societies (PDF, 153KB)
  3. Negotiating the sacred in law: Regulation of gifts motivated by religious faith (PDF, 154KB)
  4. Negotiating a religious identity in modern Japan: The Christian experience (PDF, 185KB)

Section IV. The Future: Openness and Dogmatism

  1. ‘We already know what is good and just…’: Idolatry and the scalpel of suspicion (PDF, 121KB)
  2. The sacred and sacrilege—ethics not metaphysics (PDF, 180KB)
  3. Resolving disputes over Aboriginal sacred sites: Some experiences in the 1990s (PDF, 142KB)

Other publications that may interest you