Of Blasphemy, from the Narrenschiff (The Ship ...

Of Blasphemy, from the Narrenschiff (The Ship of Fools) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The gallows at Leith, Edinburgh, Scotland, where 20 year old student Thomas Aikenhead was sentenced to death by hanging, having been charged with the crime of Blasphemy, for mocking Christianity. Aikenhead had recanted and begged for mercy, in vain, and was tried and sentenced on December 25th, Christmas Day, 1696, then executed on January 8, 1697. (Article from Wikipedia) Thomas Aikenhead (c. March 1676 – 8 January 1697)[1] was a Scottish student from Edinburgh, who was prosecuted and executed at the age of 20[2] on a charge of blasphemy. He was the last person in Britain to be executed for blasphemy. Aikenhead was indicted in December 1696.

The indictment of Thomas Aikenhead read: That … the prisoner had repeatedly maintained, in conversation, that theology was a rhapsody of ill-invented nonsense, patched up partly of the moral doctrines of philosophers, and partly of poetical fictions and extravagant chimeras: That he ridiculed the holy scriptures, calling the Old Testament Ezra’s fables, in profane allusion to Esop’s Fables; That he railed on Christ, saying, he had learned magick in Egypt, which enabled him to perform those pranks which were called miracles: That he called the New Testament the history of the imposter Christ; That he said Moses was the better artist and the better politician; and he preferred Muhammad to Christ: That the Holy Scriptures were stuffed with such madness, nonsense, and contradictions, that he admired the stupidity of the world in being so long deluded by them: That he rejected the mystery of the Trinity as unworthy of refutation; and scoffed at the incarnation of Christ.

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