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English Bibles on Trial : Bible Burning and the Desecration of Bibles, 1640-1800 (Hardcover) (Avner
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The aim of this book is to explore antagonism towards and acts of violence against English Bibles in England and Scotland (and, to a lesser degree, Ireland) from the English Civil Wars to the end of the eighteenth century. In this period, English Bibles were burnt, torn apart, thrown away and desecrated in theatrical and highly offensive ways. Soldiers and rebels, clergymen and laymen, believers and doubters expressed their views and emotions regarding the English Bible (or a particular English Bible) through violent gestures. Often, Bibles of other people and other denominations were burnt and desecrated; sometimes people burnt and destroyed their own Bibles. By focusing on violent gestures, which expressed resentment, rejection and hatred, this book furthers our understanding of what the Bible meant for early modern Christians. More specifically, it suggests that religious identities in the period were not simply formed by pious reading, studying and contemplating Scripture, but rather, for some people, religious identities were shaped through antagonistic encounters with Scripture and the material book of the Bible.