Cornhill Magazine,  7 (1863), 516–29.


[J Fitzjames Stephen]




Anthropology, Superstition

    Contends that the idea that perjury is more culpable than deliberate falsehood because 'the Deity regards' it as a 'personal affront' is 'a notion fitter for a heathen than a Christian, and is probably a remnant of heathen superstition. All experience shows that, in point of fact, this is so. Savage nations and uneducated classes place the greatest distinctive value on an oath, and lay the greatest stress on the difference between lying and perjury. [...] This superstition is almost universal, and clings closer to all of us than we are aware, though it is strongest in the most ignorant, ill-instructed, and wicked' (517).

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