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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Rolling in the mud?

If you've ever been the target of gossip and fault-finding — or if you've passed on a juicy rumor or two yourself — you might take note of Loshon Hora, a movement born recently in Cleveland.

Loshon hora is Hebrew for "negative speech" or "negative tongue." In his novel Operation Shylock, Philip Roth describes it as "Defamatory statements. Insulting witticisms. Disparaging anecdotes. Idle mockery."

Martin Luther, often more earthy and entertaining than 20th century types, described "relishing and delighting" in gossip as being "like pigs that roll in the mud and root around in it with their snouts."


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