German Criminal Legislation in the Religious Sphere: History and Contemporary Discussions

Discussions about criminal law in the religious sphere have become relevant in Europe. This article presents the main milestones in the development of German criminal law in the field of «religious crimes» (insulting religious feelings, obstructing worship, desecration of religious objects, etc.) in the context of church‑state relations during different historical periods — the Middle Ages, Reformation, Enlightenment, Kulturkampf, National‑Socialism, and post‑war.

Kicking, Stripping, and Re-Dressing a Saint in Black: Visions of Public Space in Brazil’s Recent Holy War

This article deals with a particular case of blasphemy that happened in 1995 when a Protestant televangelist insulted one of the most reverend religious symbols of Brazil — Nossa Senhora Aparecid. This was shown on TV as the televangelist’s protest against the presence of Catholicism in the public sphere of Brazil. The author uses this case in order to consider the cult of saints as a symbolic site where issues of nation, history, ideology, public space, and so on, come together.

Procopius Lupkin and Ivan Suslov: Saints, Blasphemers, False Christs, Anti-Christs?

This article deals with the Russian mystical religious group of the Christ‑Faith (Khristovery, or Khlysty). It draws upon documents of the eighteenth century referring to Christ‑Faith believers in Moscow. According to these texts, in the middle of the eighteenth century, there was no special terminology to describe or classify Christ‑Faith believers, and the Synodal oicials would call them «superstitious believers», «schismatics», or «antichrists». 

Blasphemy on the Ships of the Maltese Corsairs (According to Documents of the Inquisition at the End of the Seventeenth Century)

In the eighteenth century Malta was a hub of maritime activity and many powers wanted to gain influence over the island state. Its fortiications, dockyards and facilities were strategically placed in the center of the Mediterranean. The island was home to the knights of St. John, upheld on the island by a cosmopolitan array of merchants, mercenaries, inquisitors and corsairs. The latter two categories are the focus of this study. The inquisitors in Malta represented the Holy See. They were the personal representatives of His Holiness on Malta.

How to Accept the Unacceptable: Blasphemy and Atheism in the Judicial Practice of the Roman Inquisition in the Seventeenth Century

It is not possible to write the history of blasphemy, anticlericalism and religious scepticism in the Early Modern period without taking into consideration the variety of their different manifestations (not only words but also gestures), as well as the lexibility of the boundary separating blasphemy as an emotional outburst from blasphemy as a conscious act of rebellion against the Church as an institution and God as an idea. The author investigates these issues by looking at materials of the Republic of Venice in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

On the Verge of lèse majesté divine: Patterns of Subversive Behavior in Seventeenth-Century France

The seventeenth‑century crimes of «lèse majesté divine» varied from heresy and apostasy to such petty offences as swearing and cursing. This study focuses on the borderline infringements that involved subversive words and gestures that caught the attention of the authorities, even though they could have been easily overlooked. A priest who made a lame joke about the altar, or a simple worker who played a lute instead of listening to the clerics, was accused of blasphemy and sacrilege.

The Punishment of Saints as Pious Blasphemy in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Period

This article is devoted to the wide set of practices of coercion and punishment of saints via their images that are well documented in the Catholic world from the early Middle Ages to the Early Modern period.

Admissible Level of „Immorality“: European Law and Traditional Values