This talk by Prof David Nash is fourth in the series Writing Wrongs, curated by Deborah Lavin as part of the Heritage Lottery funded project Victorian Blogging.
After a long battle, lasting well over two hundred years and with many martyrs, the age-old law of Blasphemy was abolished in 2008. It seemed a great victory for the dream of a secular state.
This talk examines the historical conflict between blasphemers and the authorities. Commencing in the seventeenth century, the talk concentrates on English blasphemers of the nineteenth and early-twentieth century before going on to investigate the contemporary situation. The talk concludes with a consideration of blasphemy not as history or even as anachronism, but a thoroughly modern phenomena, which affects all of us.
Prof David Nash previously taught nineteenth and twentieth century British History at the universities of Leicester and York. He is presently teaching History in the School of History, Philosophy and Culture at Oxford Brookes University. Publications include Christian Ideals in British Culture, Stories of Belief in the Twentieth Century and Blasphemy in Britain and America 1800-1930. He is now completing a monograph with Anne-Marie Kilday on Shame and Modernity. He is also researching the relationship between religion and law since 1600; an extension of the Stories of Belief project to now include secular stories of unbelief. David is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society and an officer of the Social History Society of Great Britain. He is also a Director of the Centre for Inquiry (London).