For the ancient Greek, to blaspheme was to use “abusive words” by which to destroy another's reputation. In Judaism the object of such blasphemy was finally always God, against whom it was so serious a sin that the penalty was death (Lev. 24:11f.). Used more broadly in the NT, the concept is controlled throughout by the thought of reviling God's name, a discrediting of His Word, or an abuse of His majesty (e.g., 1 Tim. 6:1; Titus 2:5; Rev. 16:11, 21). Jesus was accused of blasphemy by the Jews, and it was on this charge that they called for His death. Stephen and Paul also were so accused. The most heinous sin of all, according to Mark 3:29, is blasphemy against the .*
In the, to vilify the church, the Virgin Mary, the saints, or the sacraments was blasphemy. The penalty of death for such offenders against God was sanctioned by the Council of Aachen in 818, but this was seldom in fact carried out. In the post-Reformation period enactments against blasphemy continued in force in Protestant countries (e.g., in Britain from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries). With the growing secularization of society following the Enlightenment,* blasphemy came to be regarded rather as a crime against the good order of the state. It remains on the statute books in many countries as punishable by law to deny God, ridicule Christ, and profane the Bible, but in practice the law is not easily invoked where God, Christ, and the Bible are no longer highly revered.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
In classical Greek meant primarily "defamation" or "evil-speaking" in general; "a word of evil omen," hence, "impious, and irreverent speech against God."
(1) In theas substantive and vb.:
(a) (barakh) "Naboth did blaspheme God and the king" (
(c) (charaph) of idolatry as blasphemy against Yahweh (
(d) (naqabh) "And he that blasphemeth the name of Yahweh, he shall surely be put to death" (
(e) (na’ats) David’s sin is an occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme (
(2) In theblasphemy, substantive and vb., may be
(a) of evil-speaking generally, (
(b) Speaking against a heathen goddess: the town clerk of Ephesus repels the charge that Paul and his companions were blasphemers of Diana (
(d) Against Jesus Christ: Saul strove to make the Christians he persecuted blaspheme their Lord (
(3) Blasphemy against the:
See Holy Spirit.