By Michael F. Graham
Thomas Aikenhead, a scholar on the collage of Edinburgh, used to be hanged for blasphemy in 1697. His tale brings jointly some of the severe issues in Scottish and British heritage in an period of transition from the innovative upheavals of the hugely confessionalized 17th century to the extra open civil society which got here to represent the Enlightenment. Aikenhead's perspectives, which wondered the origins of Scripture, the old features of Moses and Jesus, and the assumed superiority of Christianity over different doctrines, might later seem within the mainstream of Enlightenment discourse. yet in 1696-7 they have been poisonous. Michael Graham's microhistory, the 1st of its variety, areas his tale firmly within the social and political context of Edinburgh and Scotland within the 1690s whereas whilst making a choice on the affects on his considering, the felony matters raised through his trial and the methods it used to be considered via contemporaries in Scotland and England. The Aikenhead case illuminates a couple of topics in late-seventeenth-century heritage:
* The impact of books and interpreting
* the expansion of upper schooling
* the character of "public opinion" in Britain extra in most cases, because the case was once lined in newspapers released in London
* The methods laws used to be drafted and used
* The fissures within the non secular politics of england after the "Glorious Revolution."
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Additional info for Blasphemies of Thomas Aikenhead: Boundaries of Belief on the Eve of the Enlightenment
The former, as mentioned earlier, had accepted indulgence and served on James VII’s Privy Council. Meldrum had reconciled himself to the established Episcopal Kirk in the 1660s, serving in the pulpits of Aberdeen, but had lost his posts when he refused to take the Test Act (forcing him to recognise the royal supremacy over the Kirk and renounce the covenants) in 1681. 62 Of course, such potential cleavages in the new regime could be papered over if the parties involved could find causes to rally around.
Graham, The Uses of Reform: ‘Godly Discipline’ and Popular Behavior in Scotland and Beyond, 1560–1610 (Leiden and New York: E. J. Brill, 1996); Margo Todd, The Culture of Protestantism in Early Modern Scotland (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002). 29. ), A Journey to Edinburgh, p. 137. Taylor also complained that women dressed so modestly in this kirk that he and his fellows were given ‘but little opportunity of passing our Judgment on the Scotch beautyes’. 30. ECA MS SL1/1/34, fo. 225r–v. 31.
60 Later, when English ecclesiastical authorities were trying to connect the dots in Toland’s background (he burned a copy of the Book of Common Prayer in an Oxford tavern in 1694, and would publish the controversial Christianity not Mysterious late in 1695), the Oxford academic and future bishop of Lincoln and then London Edmund Gibson would write that, after leading a student riot at Glasgow, Toland removed to Edenburrow, and set up there for a Rosicrucian; gave them the new name of Sages, and printed a book in French and English with this title, The Sage of the Time.
Blasphemies of Thomas Aikenhead: Boundaries of Belief on the Eve of the Enlightenment by Michael F. Graham
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