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Human Rights and the Magna Carta

Date recorded: 31 May 2015 | Speaker: Dave Landrum | Event: ELF Politics and Society Network
Human Rights and the Magna Carta


The 800th year anniversary of Magna Carta (The Great Charter) represents an important opportunity to reassert the pivotal role that Christianity played in shaping this key contribution to the development of human rights. However, despite the fact that Stephen Langton, Archbishop of Canterbury, played a central role in drafting the charter, which was signed by King John at Runnymede, Surrey – with at least 11 other bishops present, it is clear that there is a battle raging today – about yesterday – for tomorrow. And we can expect human rights campaigners, secularists and politicians to seek to ignore or diminish the influence of the Bible in the creation of this historic document which refers to God as ‘the source of all liberties’. This talk will: explore the biblical and historical roots of Magna Carta; chart its influence upon ideas of freedom, human rights and civil liberties; and review the contemporary trajectory of human rights discourse.