Sins against God: Swearing and the Sabbath

Bernard Capp

in England's Culture Wars

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199641789
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191744228 | DOI:
Sins against God: Swearing and the Sabbath

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This chapter uses court records and other evidence to examine campaigns to curb blasphemy, casual oaths, and profanation of the Sabbath, offences puritans regarded as even more sinful than sexual immorality or drunkenness. It explores the prosecution of Socinians, Quakers, and numerous little-known alleged blasphemers, some deluded, others deliberately provocative. It surveys too the role of the courts and individual magistrates in suppressing profane swearing and the casual oaths common in everyday speech. The chapter then examines campaigns to enforce tight Sabbath restrictions. It explores efforts to suppress all forms of commercial activity, travel, drinking, and sports, and offers an assessment of how much was achieved on each of these fronts.

Keywords: Socinians, Sabbath; blasphemy; swearing; Quakers

Chapter.  12657 words. 

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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