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The Blasphemies of Thomas AikenheadBoundaries of Belief on the Eve of the Enlightenment$
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Michael F. Graham

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780748634262

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748634262.001.0001

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The Making of a Blasphemer

The Making of a Blasphemer

(p.79) 4 The Making of a Blasphemer
The Blasphemies of Thomas Aikenhead

Michael F. Graham

Edinburgh University Press

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

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