Peter Annet (Died)

On this date in 1769, “blasphemer” Peter Annet died. Born in 1693, he became a schoolmaster in Liverpool. In 1739 he wrote and published a pamphlet, “Judging for Ourselves, or Freethinking the Great Duty of Religion,” a strong criticism of Christianity. For writing this and similar pamphlets, he lost his position. Annet moved to London, where he became an outspoken member of the Robin Hood Society, a public debating society.

Annet, in his Resurrection of Jesus (1744), advanced the hypothesis of the illusory death of Jesus and suggested that perhaps Paul should be regarded as the founder of Christianity. In Supernaturals Examined (1747), Annet denied the possibility of miracles.

He was convicted of publishing “blasphemies” in The Free Inquirer periodical, which he founded in 1761. At age 68, Annet was sentenced to the pillory and a year’s hard labor. He later started a school and is known for inventing a system of shorthand.

Freedom From Religion Foundation