Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster

This week members of the Zetountes Society discussed the recent ruling of the European Court of Human Rights on the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. The Court argued that “Pastafarianism”, due to its purely satirical character, cannot be considered to be a religion or belief within the sense of Article 9 of the European Convention of Human Rights. The discussion followed an outstanding presentation by Mrs Jessica Giles, a local barrister and law lecturer at the Open University.

Considering the intersection of religion and law, the group reflected on a number of cases, including the refusal by the Dutch Council of State of an application by a Pastafarian, who submitted a photograph for a driving licence that showed her with a colander on her head.

This informed a fascinating debate on how the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion might frame peaceful plural living together in diverse societies. Ralf J, KS, thanked Mrs Giles on behalf of the Society, who, in turn, commended the quality of the arguments of the would-be lawyers in the group.

“Textus Roffensis” by Dr Alexander Thomas

The third of this term’s Zetountes Lectures for our academic scholars was delivered by Dr Alexander Thomas from the University of Bristol. Dr Thomas offered a fascinating talk on a treasure of Rochester Cathedral, the “Textus Roffensis”.

Created by Bishop Ernulf of Rochester, the document is an example of a 12th century AD codex diplomaticus. Often known as an exclusive encyclopaedia of Anglo-Saxon and early Kentish law code texts, it is one of just two manuscripts to contain the Peace of Edward and
Guthrum, a ruling which determined the boundaries between Saxon and Viking lands. For centuries this was thought to be a genuine Viking Age treaty text, but is in fact an infamous forgery created by Archbishop Wulfstan of York who sought to preserve the authority of the Church. Touching on the materiality and the “biography of things”, Dr Thomas offered a splendid talk, which Ella J, KS, highlighted in her closing remarks on behalf of the Society.

Find out more about the Textus Roffensis here

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