De l’époque moderne à nos jours
Edited By François Cadilhon, Philippe Chassaigne and Éric Suire
Troisième partie. Censure et questions religieuses
troisième Partie Censure et questions religieuses 145 Blasphemy and the Control of Spirituality Censorship, and Secularization in Britain and the West between the 16th and 20th Centuries David nAsh Oxford Brookes University This chapter is self- consciously a ‘think piece’ which, for the first time considers one fundamentally important religious concept with a traceable and recently investigated history, namely blasphemy, alongside the fore- most explanation for the long term historical trajectory of Christian belief, namely secularization. As such it relates the facts of the former to many of the theoretical ideological assumptions of the latter. Blasphemy was a manifestation of sacred and religious ideas being taken seriously within society. Its history, and its eventual fate, should readily provide the histo- rian with much of the material which should speak to the wider seculari- zation debate. Unpacking the historical evidence in this area and holding this up to the mirror of secularization theory ought to contribute signi- ficantly to this latter wider debate. This is especially important because in recent years work has elaborated significantly upon blasphemy which was previously a little- known area of investigation.1 Linking this with the phenomenon of secularization is also important since this concept and its continued relevance to social and religious history has likewise been the subject of intensified debate in recent years.2 Fundamentally at issue are 1 The main studies of Blasphemy are Nash, D. (1999), Blasphemy in Modern Britain 1789 – Present, Aldershot, Ashgate; Nash, D. (2007), Blasphemy in the Christian World, Oxford,...
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