Blasphemy in the Christian World: A History

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Overview

David Nash's study focuses on the development of blasphemy in the Christian world. Tracing the subject from the Middle Ages to the present, he outlines the history of blasphemy as a concept, from a species of heresy to modern understandings of it as a crime against the sacred and individual religious identity. Investigating its appearance in speech, literature, popular publishing, and the cinema, Nash disinters the likely motives and agendas of blasphemers themselves, as well as offering a glimpse of blasphemy's victims. In particular, he seeks to understand why this seemingly medieval offence has reappeared to become a distinctly modern presence in the West.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199570751
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 7/15/2010
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 286
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

David Nash is Reader in History at Oxford Brookes University. He has previously published on the secular and republican movements in England, specialising in the history of blasphemy, and appearing extensively in the media both Britain and America to speak on this subject. He has held visiting professorships in Utrecht and Buffalo, and is a permanent Visiting Research Fellow of the Center for Inquiry (Amherst, New York). In 2003 he was invited to give both verbal and written evidence to the House of Lords Select Committee on religious offences.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations xiii

Postscript xv

Introduction 1

1 The Past Invades the Present: Blasphemy in the Contemporary World 12

2 Blasphemy in Words and Pictures: Part I, 1500-1800 42

3 Blasphemy in Words and Pictures: Part II, 1800-2000 72

4 Who Were the Blasphemers" 106

5 Controlling the Profane 147

6 Responses to Blasphemy: Victims and Communities 184

7 Last Temptations and Visions of Ecstasy: Blasphemy and Film 208

Conclusion 233

Select Bibliography 249

Index 261

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