The conceit of the development of Renaissance humanism was that, like Hercules, “man” could perfect “himself” and become a God. The apostasy of Salman Rushdie was to take the word of God and relativise it, offering a human interpretation to something inspired and directed by God. In the Western intellectual tradition, the Western philosophical tradition itself originating with Socrates, who died himself an apostate; the human, the individual even, is in a profound sense God’s equal. In order not to deny, the denier being a favourite figure of the Judeo-Christian-Platonic world, or to simply die an apostate we need people willing to deny and to die for their apostasy.

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