De l’époque moderne à nos jours
Edited By François Cadilhon, Philippe Chassaigne and Éric Suire
Blasphemy and the control of spirituality. Censorship, and Secularization in Britain and the West between the 16th and 20th Centuries
← 144 | 145 → Blasphemy and the Control of Spirituality
Censorship, and Secularization in Britain and the West between the 16th and 20th Centuries
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 foremost 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 historian with much of the material which should speak to the wider secularization debate. Unpacking the historical evidence in this area and holding this up to the mirror of secularization theory ought to contribute significantly 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 ← 145 | 146 → two questions which potentially take our historical interpretation in opposing directions. Firstly how far does a history of blasphemy, which can chart its erosion from a central place to...
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