What is Transgression?

Few descriptions of transgression and its different but related contexts:

Dictionary Definition

Main Entry:trans·gres·sion
Date:14th century
: an act, process, or instance of transgressing: as a: infringement or violation of a law, command, or duty b: the spread of the sea over land areas and the consequent unconformable deposit of sediments on older rocks
source: Merriam-Webster

Main Entry:trans·gress
Pronunciation:\tran(t)s-ˈgres, tranz-\
Etymology:Middle English, from Middle French transgresser, from Latin transgressus, past participle of transgredi to step beyond or across, from trans- + gradi to step — more at grade
Date:15th century
intransitive verb
1: to violate a command or law : sin
2: to go beyond a boundary or limit
transitive verb
1: to go beyond limits set or prescribed by : violate
2: to pass beyond or go over (a limit or boundary)
— trans·gres·sive \-ˈgre-siv\ adjective
— trans·gres·sor \-ˈgre-sər\ noun
source: Merriam-Webster

Definition in theological context

A sin, a super-crime, an offense against God.
A violation of God’s 10 commandments.

“In Milton’s Paradise Lost, for example, Adam and Eve ‘ transgress his [i.e. God’s] will’ when they eat the forbidden fruit. Blasphemy is thus meta-transgressive. The violation of God’s name, with the immediate sanction of death, is the very model for the transgressive.”
source: Transgressions The offences of Art, Anthony Julius

Social transgression

Transgressive acts are often seen as “against” established social values and norms. An exception to commonly held believe or norm.

Transgression in legal terms

“Transgression” entered the English language in 16th century, freighted with these negative scriptural meanings. The word was son secularised to describe disobedience of the law. It was then enlarged, first to include the violating of any rule or principle and then to embrace any departure from the correct behaviour.”
source: Transgressions The offences of Art, Anthony Julius


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