The Making of a Blasphemer

Michael F. Graham

in The Blasphemies of Thomas Aikenhead

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780748634262
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748653454 | DOI:
The Making of a Blasphemer

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This chapter discusses the history of Thomas Aikenhead. Aikenhead was an intellectual iconoclast from an idiosyncratic and marginal Edinburgh family. He was orphaned at nine, with no wealth within his immediate family on which to rely. At sixteen years old, Aikenhead enrolled in Edinburgh's town college. While he attended lectures for four years, he never completed the requirements for his degree. Mungo Craig spent a lot of time talking with Aikenhead, who was perhaps not the best social companion for an aspiring Presbyterian pastor. Craig would ultimately be the leading witness at Aikenhead's trial, but he did not wait until then to make his accusations public. Craig wrote some of his accusations into a pamphlet, published for his landlord, Robert Hutchison, whose property was at the head of the College Wynd. The pamphlet presented Aikenhead as an object of ridicule and execration, convicting him first in the court of public opinion.

Keywords: Thomas Aikenhead; Edinburgh; Mungo Craig; Robert Hutchison

Chapter.  9227 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Regional and Area Studies

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