Thursday, July 31, 2014

Religious typographical taboo: six points of contention

  1. While cleaning out some files earlier this week, I deleted an .epub version of the Koran from my desktop. And I wondered as I did it, would a believing Muslim have any difficulty doing the same, in light of the prohibition on destroying that book? (Because of that prohibition, Muslims in Iraq haven't destroyed the abhorrent Blood Koran created by Saddam Hussein. However, since it's "unclean" as well, they also can't put it on public display. Twixt a rock and a hard place, they are. The full-on theological debate over what to do with the damn thing rages on.
  2. My friend the religious scholar notes, when I shared the above thought with him, that there really isn't any issue of consequence of the copies being destroyed or threatened with destruction are in a language other than the Koranic Arabic of Muhammad. In Islam, it can be thought a kind of sin to read from a translated Koran. 
  3. My friend also points out: A better question is what happens to misprinted pages in Arabic editions..."
  4. An acquaintance had this to share. "My nephews went to Hebrew school in a Conservative (not even Orthodox) synagogue. Like in any school, there were plenty of handouts. Being about Judaism, the word 'G-d' showed up a lot. The kids were not allowed to throw out or recycle any handouts with "God" on them. The handouts had to be brought to some special place, where most likely a Rabbi got bribed (read: paid) to dispose of them "properly". These were #$%^&* handouts for kids in a $%^&* little school! I wish I were making this up."
  5. This same acquaintance alerts us to the religious trespass inherent in reading this on screen. "Look what we typed -- the word 'GOD' instead of 'G-d'! Who knew that an errant keystroke could hurt the feelings of the omnipotent creator of the Universe."
  6. From WP: "In Jewish tradition the sacredness of the divine name or titles must be recognized by the professional sofer (scribe) who writes Torah scrolls, or tefillin and mezuzah. Before transcribing any of the divine titles or name he prepares mentally to sanctify them. Once he begins a name he does not stop until it is finished, and he must not be interrupted while writing it, even to greet a king. If an error is made in writing it may not be erased, but a line must be drawn round it to show that it is canceled, and the whole page must be put in a genizah (burial place for scripture) and a new page begun."

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