It was on this date, February 15, 1748, that British jurist and social reformer Jeremy Bentham was born into a Tory family in London, the son of a lawyer. A precocious learner, Bentham studied Latin at age four and sailed through Oxford, pausing only long enough to condemn the “mendacity and insincerity” of its religious atmosphere. He embarked on a legal career, but objected to its servitude to creeds, so he turned toward social reform: prison and legal reform and education reform: he founded University College, London, opening it to Non-Conformist, Catholic and Jewish students. Said Bentham, “There is no pestilence in a state like a zeal for religion, independent of morality.” One of the founders of the philosophy of Utilitarianism, and a mentor to John Stuart Mill, in private Bentham was candid about his Atheism…
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Originally published February 2003 by Ronald Bruce Meyer.
Étienne Dolet (1509) It was on this date, August 3, 1546, that the French scholar and printer of books critical of religion, Étienne Dolet, was burned alive for his opinions. Dolet was born in Orléans in 1509, possibly also on 3 August, and possibly into a family of wealth and rank. Dolet studied in Paris […]