"> Name: Thomas Aikenhead, Scottish priest and freethinker

Date:  1500 - 1799

Location:  Europe


MediumPublic Speech , Personal Opinion

Artist: Thomas Aikenhead

Confronting Bodies: The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, and the Scottish Parliament

Date of Action: 1696-1697

Specific Location: Edinburgh, Scotland

Description of Artwork: Aikenhead was a Roman Catholic priest known for criticizing the church. In one of his known documents he described his "insatiable inclination to truth." He called theology "a rapsidie of faigned and ill-invented nonsense." He also referred to hell as a place he wished he could visit on a cold day.

Description of Incident: During the 15th century the Scottish church and law considered blasphemy as severe a crime as treason. Aikenhead was charged for being a priest at a time of anti-Roman Catholic sentiment in Scotland. He was also indicted for ridiculing theology and hell; referring to Jesus and Moses as magicians; and rejecting the Holy Trinity.

Results of Incident: Aikenhead was hung in January 1697, with a bible in his hand; he was 18 years old.

Source: Censorship, A World Encyclopedia, ed. D. Jones

Submitted By: NCAC

FileRoom Search | Table of Contents | Category Homepage | NCAC