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Frank Kermode: Blasphemy

14 January 2002
Blasphemy: Impious Speech in the West from the 17th to the 19th Century 
by Alain Cabantous, translated by Eric Rauth.
Columbia, 288 pp., £21.50, February 2002, 0 231 11876 7
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... Blasphemy is still a crime in English law, though I imagine few now think it should be. A quarter-century has passed since anybody was charged with it, but another determined zealot like Mary Whitehouse might still manage a prosecution. The law holds that Christianity, in effect the Church of England with its secular Head, is the only religion that can be blasphemed, and one still hears arguments in ...

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