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234 × 156 × 22 mm
208 pages
16 Mar 2020

Acts Against God A Short History of Blasphemy David Nash

A phenomenon that spans human experience, from the ancient world right up to today’s ferocious religious debates, blasphemy is an act of individuals, but also a widespread and constant presence in cultural, political and religious life. Acts Against God is the first accessible history of this crime – its prosecution, its impact and its punishment and suppression.

The book begins in ancient Greece with the genesis of blasphemy’s link with the state. From here we move on to blasphemy in the medieval world, in the Reformation and the Enlightenment. The book concludes with the twenty-first century, with individuals and the state seeking to adopt blasphemy as the means to resist the secular and the globalization of culture.

Acts Against God is the new authoritative account of blasphemy law's long history. Its analysis of Western law over more than two millennia is brought vividly to life through the key trials and episodes of libel against God, the miracles and the Trinity. Now, with blasphemy still a crime in so many countries, this offence sadly continues to define and limit our freedoms. Written with a verve that bowls the reader along, David Nash shows how democrats since Socrates have hankered for an Open Society in which freedom of religion might one day be matched by freedom from religion.’ — Callum Brown, Professor of Late Modern European History, University of Glasgow

‘A superb history from the preeminent expert in the field.’ — Andrew Copson, author of Secularism: A Very Short Introduction

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David Nash is Professor of History at Oxford Brookes University. He has been researching, lecturing and publishing on the history of blasphemy for thirty years, and is author of Blasphemy in Britain (1999) and Blasphemy in the Christian World (2010).

1. Blasphemy in Ancient Worlds
2. Blasphemy in Medieval Christendom
3. Blasphemy and the Reformation
4. Blasphemy and the Enlightenment
5. Blasphemy in the Nineteenth Century
6. Blasphemy in the Twentieth Century
7. Blasphemy in the Contemporary World