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Thispiece offers a introduction and overview of thekey themes established in the collection of essays in Victorian Engagements with the Bible and Antiquity: The Shock of the Old. It opens by alluding to the Victorian pride in progress, in technology, in travel – in the newness of modernity. It proceeds to point out, however, that it was a critical engagement with the past that most challenged how Victorians understood the world and their place in it. In other words, this Victorian anxiety about progress was fed by the shock of the old. The piece then introduces thecore thesis of the volume as a whole, which is thatVictorian encounters with the past – though quintessentially modern – can only be properly understood through the nineteenth century’s passionate exploration of the interaction between religion and historicity, between the theological and the classical, between the Bible and classical antiquity.
The nineteenth century was a period in which ideas of history and time were challenged as never before. This is the first book to explore how the study of classical antiquity and the study of the Bible together formed an image of the past which became central to Victorian self-understanding. These specially commissioned, multi-disciplinary essays brilliantly reveal the richness of Victorian thinking about the past and how important these models of antiquity were in the expression of modernity. In an age of progress, cultural anxiety and cultural hope was fuelled by the shock of the old – new discoveries about the deep past, and new ways of thinking about humanity's place in history. The volume provides a rich and readable feast which will be fundamental to all those seeking a greater understanding of the Victorians, as well as of the reception of classics and the Bible.
This chapter advances the argument that religious and ethical reasoning have a role to play in policy debates about patent law, and also in some patent law cases. We begin at the most general level, by arguing that in democratic, pluralist societies, moral and religious argument have a legitimate contribution to make to public discourse tout court. We then make a case for the relevance of religious and moral deliberation for patent law in particular, given that inventions and new technologies that seek patent protection sometimes have significant repercussions for wider society, and patent protection is a way of encouraging and supporting their development. We also consider ways in which religion and ethics might be said to count as relevant evidence not only in patent policy debates, but also in patent proceedings. We address this against the background of the ‘politics of knowledge’ that has arisen in Europe and the United States, and include reference to the explicit immorality exclusion found in European patent legal systems. Given that the interpretation and application of the immorality exclusion has been controversial with lawyers, we finally propose an alternative, potentially more fruitful approach to the exclusion, treating it as a ‘policy lever’.