Ancient and Modern Perspectives on Freedom of Speech


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Freedom of speech is a fundamental right in many societies, yet also highly contested. As a right, it can only be appreciated if its historical development is taken into account. Parrhesia offers case studies in freedom of speech, its understanding and exercise throughout history. They enable researchers and policymakers alike to gain an awareness of the complexities, challenges and benefits of freedom of speech. The cases that have been selected are from the field of religion and theology, yet exemplary in character and able to shed light on freedom of speech in other parts of society.

Contributors are: Leon van den Broeke, Jan Krans, Silvia Castelli, Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte, Manfred Lang, Bastian Lemitz, Nils Neumann, Kyriakoula Papademetriou, Dirk Jan Schoon, and Peter-Ben Smit.

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Peter-Ben Smit, PhD (1979) is professor of Contextual Biblical Interpretation at Vrije Universiteit (Amsterdam), professor by special appointment of Ancient Catholic Church Structures at Utrecht University, Professor (ao.) for Systematic and Ecumenical Theology faculty of Theology University of Bern and a research associate in the Department of Theology of the University of Pretoria. Eva van Urk, MA (1987) is currently working on a Ph.D. project in biblical studies and theology at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. She investigates the potential of using the concept of imago Dei to address the issue of human-caused extinction and to stir ecological responsibility. Her research is funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO).
List of ContributorsIi

1 Introduction
Bert-Jan Lietaert Peerbolte

Part 1: Parrhesia in Antiquity

2 The Performative Meaning of the Word παρρησία in Ancient Greek and in the Greek Bible
Kyriakoula Papademetriou

3 “Deine Absicht ist es ja, die Freiheit zurückzuholen und neu aufzurichten” (Paneg. 78,3). ‘Freiheit’ in Plinius Secundus’ Panegyricus
Manfred Lang

4 Παρρησία in Erzähltexten: Handlungsschemata bei Lukian und in der Apostelgeschichte
Nils Neumann

Part 2: Instances of Parrhesia in the Early Modern Era

5 Empowering Catholics in a Protestant Republic: Life and Works of Apostolic Vicar John van Neercassel (1626–1686)
Dirk Jan Schoon

6 The Pirate of the New Testament: Wettsteins’s Comment on Acts 24.5
Bastian Lemitz

7 The Freedom to Change: The Text of the New Testament? Wettstein’s Treatment of Mark
Jan Krans and Silvia Castelli 

Part 3 : Instances of Parrhesia in the Modern Era

8 “To Speak Your Word with All Boldness”: Freedom of Expression in Dutch Reformed Churches
Leon van den Broeke

9 Silence is Golden: Freedom of Speech and the Old Catholic Observer at the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965)
Peter-Ben Smit
All interested in freedom of speech and its development, anyone concerned with religious and legal history, including canon law and the place of (religious) minorities and independent scholarship in society.
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