Monday, July 27, 2009

Visconsi on Criminal Blasphemy

Elliott Visconsi, Yale English Department and Law School, has posted The Invention of Criminal Blasphemy: Rex v. Taylor (1676), which originally appeared in Representations, 103 (Summer 2008). Here is the asbtract:
This article provides an account of the emergence of the common law jurisdiction over blasphemy, arguing that the blasphemy laws first developed in Rex v. Taylor had an explicitly secular purpose. Instead of understanding this crucial decision as an emblem of the early modern fusion of church and state, this article reads Sir Matthew Hale's famous axiom that 'Christianity is parcel of the laws of England' as a step towards the emergence of an English civil religion.
Image Credit: Sitr Matthew Hale