Definitions from Black's Law Dictionary: 2nd Edition and Ballentine's Law Dictionary as are available for each term in each dictionary.
  • Ballentine's Law Dictionary

    Contumelious reproaches of God. See 22 L. R. A. 353.

  • Black's Law Dictionary: 2nd Edition

    In English law. Blasphemy is the offense of speaking matter relating to God, Jesus Christ, the Bible or the Book of Common Prayer, intended to wound the feelings of mankind or to excite contempt and hatred against the church by law established or to promote immorality. Sweet. In American law. Any oral or written reproach maliciously cast upon God, His name, attributes, or religion. Co.m. v. Knee-land, 20 Pick. (Mass.) 213; Young v. State, 10 Lea (Tenn.) 165; Com. v. Spratt, 14 Phila. (Pat) 365; People v. Buggies, 8 Johns. (N. Y.) 290, 5 Am. Dec. 335; Updegraph v.om., 11 Serg. & R. (Pa.) 406 ; 2 Bish. Cr. Law, § 76; Pen. Code Dak. § 31. In general, blasphemy may be described as consisting in speaking evil of the Deity with an impious purpose to derogate from the divine majesty, and to alienate the minds of others from the love and reverence of God. It is purposely using words concerning God calculated and designed to impair and destroy the reverence, respect, and confidence due to Him as the intelligent creator, governor, and judge of the world. It embraces the idea of detraction, when used towards the Supreme Being, as "calumny" usually carries the same idea when applied to an individual. It is a willful and malicious attempt to lessen men's reverence of God by deny ing His existence, or His attributes as an intelligent creator, governor, and judge of men, and to prevent their having confidence m Him as such. Com. v. Kneeland, 20 Pick. (Mass.) 211, 212. The use of this word is, in modern law exclusively confined to sacred subjects; but blasphemia and blasphemare were anciently used to signify the reviling by one person of another. Nov. 77,t c. 1, § 1; Spelman.