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  • Prisons of Law and Brothels of Religion: William Blake’s Christian Anarchism

    Duane Williams

    Chapter from the book: Christoyannopoulos A. & Adams M. 2018. Essays in Anarchism and Religion: Volume II.


    This chapter demonstrates how both anarchistic and religious tendencies are fused in William Blake’s work. While acknowledging biographical and historical approaches to Blake scholarship, the methodological approach is foremost hermeneutical. Highlighting how Blake can be understood as a Christian anarchist by interpreting the significance of key beliefs and arguments found in his work, the chapter also explores Blake’s opposition to both judicial and moral law, which underpins his questioning of the authority and rule of king and priest. The chapter consists of two sections. First it analyses Blake’s complete mistrust of institutional state religion, along with its establishment of priests who, Blake maintained, cruelly bound and thus enslaved believers with moral law, then it examines Blake’s view of Jesus as a transgressor of this law, through his unique insight concerning the mutual forgiveness of sins that places love and liberty above all else.

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    How to cite this chapter
    Williams, D. 2018. Prisons of Law and Brothels of Religion: William Blake’s Christian Anarchism. In: Christoyannopoulos A. & Adams M (eds.), Essays in Anarchism and Religion. Stockholm: Stockholm University Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.16993/bas.h

    This is an Open Access chapter distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (unless stated otherwise), which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Copyright is retained by the author(s).

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    Additional Information

    Published on Sept. 26, 2018


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