Index Librorum Prohibitorum

The Index librorum prohibitorum ("List of Prohibited Books") was a list of publications deemed heretical or contrary to morality by the Sacred Congregation of the Index (a former Dicastery of the Roman Curia), and Catholics were forbidden to read them without permission.[1]

There were attempts to censor individual books before the sixteenth century, notably the ninth-century Decretum Glasianum, but none of these were either official or widespread.[2] In 1559, Pope Paul IV promulgated the Pauline Index, which Paul F. Grendler believed marked "the turning-point for the freedom of enquiry in the Catholic world". After less than a year, it was replaced by the Tridentine Index which relaxed aspects of the Pauline Index that had been criticized and had prevented its acceptance.[1] The 20th and final edition appeared in 1948, and the Index was formally abolished on 14 June 1966 by Pope Paul VI.[3][4]

The stated aim of the list was to protect the faith and morals of the faithful by preventing the reading of theologically, culturally, or politically disruptive books. Such books included works by astronomers, such as Johannes Kepler's Epitome astronomiae Copernicanae which was on the Index from 1621 to 1835, by philosophers, such as Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason and editions and translations of the Bible that had not been approved. Editions of the Index also contained the rules of the Church relating to the reading, selling, and pre-emptive censorship of books.[5]

Latin Church canon law still recommends that works should be submitted to the judgment of the local ordinary if they concern sacred Scripture, theology, canon law, or church history, religion or morals.[6] The local ordinary consults someone whom he considers competent to give a judgment and, if that person gives the nihil obstat ("nothing forbids"), the local ordinary grants the imprimatur ("let it be printed").[7] Members of religious institutes require the imprimi potest (it can be printed) of their major superior to publish books on matters of religion or morals.[8]

Some of the scientific theories contained in works in early editions of the Index have long been taught at Catholic universities. For example, the general prohibition of books advocating heliocentrism was removed from the Index in 1758, but two Franciscan mathematicians had published an edition of Isaac Newton's Principia Mathematica (1687) in 1742, with commentaries and a preface stating that the work assumed heliocentrism and could not be explained without it.[9] A work of Antonio Rosmini-Serbati was on the Index, but he was beatified in 2007.[10] Some have argued that the developments since the abolition of the Index signify "the loss of relevance of the Index in the 21st century."[11]

J. Martínez de Bujanda's Index Librorum Prohibitorum, 1600–1966 lists the authors and writings in the successive editions of the Index.[12]

Index Librorum Prohibitorum 1
Title page of Index Librorum Prohibitorum (Venice 1564)

Background and history

European restrictions on the right to print

Handtiegelpresse von 1811
Printing press from 1811, Munich, Germany.

The historical context in which the Index appeared involved the early restrictions on printing in Europe. The refinement of moveable type and the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg around 1440 changed the nature of book publishing, and the mechanism by which information could be disseminated to the public.[13] Books, once rare and kept carefully in a small number of libraries, could be mass-produced and widely disseminated.

In the 16th century, both the churches and governments in most European countries attempted to regulate and control printing because it allowed for rapid and widespread circulation of ideas and information. The Protestant Reformation generated large quantities of polemical new writing by and within both the Catholic and Protestant camps, and religious subject-matter was typically the area most subject to control. While governments and church encouraged printing in many ways, which allowed the dissemination of Bibles and government information, works of dissent and criticism could also circulate rapidly. As a consequence, governments established controls over printers across Europe, requiring them to have official licenses to trade and produce books.[14][15]

The early versions of the Index began to appear from 1529 to 1571. In the same time frame, in 1557 the English Crown aimed to stem the flow of dissent by chartering the Stationers' Company. The right to print was restricted to two universities and to the 21 existing printers in the city of London, which had between them 53 printing presses.

The French crown also tightly controlled printing, and the printer and writer Etienne Dolet was burned at the stake for atheism in 1546. The 1551 Edict of Châteaubriant comprehensively summarized censorship positions to date, and included provisions for unpacking and inspecting all books brought into France.[16][17] The 1557 Edict of Compiègne applied the death penalty to heretics and resulted in the burning of a noblewoman at the stake.[18] Printers were viewed as radical and rebellious, with 800 authors, printers and book dealers being incarcerated in the Bastille.[19] At times, the prohibitions of church and state followed each other, e.g. René Descartes was placed on the Index in the 1660s and the French government prohibited the teaching of Cartesianism in schools in the 1670s.[20]

The Copyright Act 1710 in Britain, and later copyright laws in France, eased this situation. However, historian Eckhard Höffner claims that copyright laws and their restrictions acted as a barrier to progress in those countries for over a century, since British publishers could print valuable knowledge in limited quantities for the sake of profit; while the German economy prospered in the same time frame since there were no restrictions.[21][22]

Early indexes (1529–1571)

Index 1557
Title page of the first Papal Index, Index Auctorum et Librorum, published in 1557 and then withdrawn.

The first list of the kind was not published in Rome, but in Catholic Netherlands (1529); Venice (1543) and Paris (1551) under the terms of the Edict of Châteaubriant followed this example. By mid-century, in the tense atmosphere of wars of religion in Germany and France, both Protestant and Catholic authorities reasoned that only control of the press, including a catalog of prohibited works, coordinated by ecclesiastic and governmental authorities could prevent the spread of heresy.[23]

The first Roman Index was printed in 1557 under the direction of Pope Paul IV (1555–1559), but then withdrawn for unclear reasons.[24] In 1559, a new index was finally published, banning the entire works of some 550 authors in addition to the individual proscribed titles:[24][note 1] "The Pauline Index felt that the religious convictions of an author contaminated all his writing."[23] The work of the censors was considered too severe and met with much opposition even in Catholic intellectual circles; after the Council of Trent had authorised a revised list prepared under Pope Pius IV, the so-called Tridentine Index was promulgated in 1564; it remained the basis of all later lists until Pope Leo XIII, in 1897, published his Index Leonianus.

The blacklisting of some Protestant scholars even when writing on subjects a modern reader would consider outside the realm of dogma meant that, unless they obtained a dispensation, obedient Catholic thinkers were denied access to works including: botanist Conrad Gesner's Historiae animalium; the botanical works of Otto Brunfels; those of the medical scholar Janus Cornarius; to Christoph Hegendorff or Johann Oldendorp on the theory of law; Protestant geographers and cosmographers like Jacob Ziegler or Sebastian Münster; as well as anything by Protestant theologians like Martin Luther, John Calvin or Philipp Melanchthon.[note 2] Among the inclusions was the Libri Carolini, a theological work from the 9th century court of Charlemagne, which was published in 1549 by Bishop Jean du Tillet and which had already been on two other lists of prohibited books before being inserted into the Tridentine Index.[26]

Sacred Congregation of the Index (1571–1917)

In 1571, a special congregation was created, the Sacred Congregation of the Index, which had the specific task to investigate those writings that were denounced in Rome as being not exempt of errors, to update the list of Pope Pius IV regularly and also to make lists of required corrections in case a writing was not to be condemned absolutely but only in need of correction; it was then listed with a mitigating clause (e.g., donec corrigatur (forbidden until corrected) or donec expurgetur (forbidden until purged)).

Several times a year, the congregation held meetings. During the meetings, they reviewed various works and documented those discussions. In between the meetings was when the works to be discussed were thoroughly examined, and each work was scrutinized by two people. At the meetings, they collectively decided whether or not the works should be included in the Index. Ultimately, the pope was the one who had to approve of works being added or removed from the Index. It was the documentation from the meetings of the congregation that aided the pope in making his decision.[27]

Galileo before the Holy Office
Galileo being condemned in 1633.

This sometimes resulted in very long lists of corrections, published in the Index Expurgatorius, which was cited by Thomas James in 1627 as "an invaluable reference work to be used by the curators of the Bodleian library when listing those works particularly worthy of collecting".[28] Prohibitions made by other congregations (mostly the Holy Office) were simply passed on to the Congregation of the Index, where the final decrees were drafted and made public, after approval of the Pope (who always had the possibility to condemn an author personally—there are only a few examples of such condemnation, including those of Lamennais and Hermes).

An update to the Index was made by Pope Leo XIII, in the 1897 apostolic constitution Officiorum ac Munerum, known as the "Index Leonianus".[29] Subsequent editions of the Index were more sophisticated; they graded authors according to their supposed degree of toxicity, and they marked specific passages for expurgation rather than condemning entire books.[30]

The Sacred Congregation of the Inquisition of the Roman Catholic Church later became the Holy Office, and since 1965 has been called the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The Congregation of the Index was merged with the Holy Office in 1917, by the Motu Proprio "Alloquentes Proxime" of Pope Benedict XV; the rules on the reading of books were again reelaborated in the new Codex Iuris Canonici. From 1917 onward, the Holy Office (again) took care of the Index.

Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1969-067-10, Alfred Rosenberg
Nazi ideologist Alfred Rosenberg. His Myth of the Twentieth Century was placed on the Index for scorning Catholic dogma and the fundamentals of the Christian religion.[31]

Holy Office (1917–1966)

While individual books continued to be forbidden, the last edition of the Index to be published appeared in 1948. This 20th[32] edition contained 4,000 titles censored for various reasons: heresy, moral deficiency, sexual explicitness, and so on. That some atheists, such as Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, were not included was due to the general (Tridentine) rule that heretical works (i.e., works that contradict Catholic dogma) are ipso facto forbidden. Some important works are absent simply because nobody bothered to denounce them.[33] Many actions of the congregations were of a definite political content.[34] Among the significant listed works of the period was the Nazi philosopher Alfred Rosenberg's Myth of the Twentieth Century for scorning and rejecting "all dogmas of the Catholic Church, indeed the very fundamentals of the Christian religion".[31]

Abolition (1966)

On 7 December 1965, Pope Paul VI issued the Motu Proprio Integrae servandae that reorganized the Holy Office as the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.[35] The Index was not listed as being a part of the newly constituted congregation's competence, leading to questioning whether it still was. This question was put to Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani, pro-prefect of the congregation, who responded in the negative.[36] The Cardinal also indicated in his response that there was going to be a change in the Index soon.

A June 1966 Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith notification announced that, while the Index maintained its moral force, in that it taught Christians to beware, as required by the natural law itself, of those writings that could endanger faith and morality, it no longer had the force of ecclesiastical positive law with the associated penalties.[37]

Scope and impact

Titelkupfer Index librorum prohibitorum
This 1711 illustration for the Index Librorum Prohibitorum depicts the Holy Ghost supplying the book-burning fire.

Censorship and enforcement

The Index was not simply a reactive work. Roman Catholic authors had the opportunity to defend their writings and could prepare a new edition with necessary corrections or deletions, either to avoid or to limit a ban. Pre-publication censorship was encouraged.

The Index was enforceable within the Papal States, but elsewhere only if adopted by the civil powers, as happened in several Italian states.[38] Other areas adopted their own lists of forbidden books. In the Holy Roman Empire book censorship, which preceded publication of the Index, came under control of the Jesuits at the end of the 16th century, but had little effect, since the German princes within the empire set up their own systems.[39] In France it was French officials who decided what books were banned[39] and the Church's Index was not recognized.[40] Spain had its own Index Librorum Prohibitorum, which corresponded largely to the Church's,[41] but also included a list of books that were allowed once the forbidden part (sometimes a single sentence) was removed or "expurgated".[42]

Continued moral obligation

On 14 June 1966, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith responded to inquiries it had received regarding the continued moral obligation concerning books that had been listed in the Index. The response spoke of the books as examples of books dangerous to faith and morals, all of which, not just those once included in the Index, should be avoided regardless of the absence of any written law against them. The Index, it said, retains its moral force "inasmuch as" (quatenus) it teaches the conscience of Christians to beware, as required by the natural law itself, of writings that can endanger faith and morals, but it (the Index of Forbidden Books) no longer has the force of ecclesiastical law with the associated censures.[43]

The congregation thus placed on the conscience of the individual Christian the responsibility to avoid all writings dangerous to faith and morals, while at the same time abolishing the previously existing ecclesiastical law and the relative censures,[44] without thereby declaring that the books that had once been listed in the various editions of the Index of Prohibited Books had become free of error and danger.

In a letter of 31 January 1985 to Cardinal Giuseppe Siri, regarding the book The Poem of the Man-God, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (then Prefect of the Congregation, who later became Pope Benedict XVI), referred to the 1966 notification of the Congregation as follows: "After the dissolution of the Index, when some people thought the printing and distribution of the work was permitted, people were reminded again in L'Osservatore Romano (15 June 1966) that, as was published in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis (1966), the Index retains its moral force despite its dissolution. A decision against distributing and recommending a work, which has not been condemned lightly, may be reversed, but only after profound changes that neutralize the harm which such a publication could bring forth among the ordinary faithful."[45]

Changing judgments

The monument to philosopher Giordano Bruno (who was on the Index) at the Campo de' Fiori in Rome where he was burned at the stake. The statue is placed so that Bruno faces in the direction of the Vatican.

The content of the Index Librorum Prohibitorum saw deletions as well as additions over the centuries. Writings by Antonio Rosmini-Serbati were placed on the Index in 1849 but were removed by 1855, and Pope John Paul II mentioned Rosmini's work as a significant example of "a process of philosophical enquiry which was enriched by engaging the data of faith".[46] The 1758 edition of the Index removed the general prohibition of works advocating heliocentrism as a fact rather than a hypothesis.[47] Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake in Campo de' Fiori in Rome in 1600, yet some of his ideas now form the foundations of modern cosmology.[48]

Listed works and authors

Frans Hals - Portret van René Descartes
René Descartes went on the Index in 1663.

Noteworthy figures on the Index include Simone de Beauvoir, Nicolas Malebranche, Jean-Paul Sartre, Michel de Montaigne, Voltaire, Denis Diderot, Victor Hugo, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, André Gide, Nikos Kazantzakis, Emanuel Swedenborg, Baruch Spinoza, Immanuel Kant, David Hume, René Descartes, Francis Bacon, Thomas Browne, John Milton, John Locke, Nicolaus Copernicus, Galileo Galilei, Blaise Pascal, and Hugo Grotius. The first woman to be placed on the list was Magdalena Haymairus in 1569, who was listed for her children's book Die sontegliche Episteln über das gantze Jar in gesangsweis gestellt (Sunday Epistles on the whole Year, put to the test).[49][50][51][52] Other women include Anne Askew,[53] Olympia Fulvia Morata, Ursula of Munsterberg (1491–1534), Veronica Franco, and Paola Antonia Negri (1508–1555).[54] Charles Darwin's works were never included.[55]

In many cases, an author's opera omnia (complete works) were forbidden. However, the Index stated that the prohibition of someone's opera omnia did not preclude works that were not concerned with religion and were not forbidden by the general rules of the Index. This explanation was omitted in the 1929 edition, which was officially interpreted in 1940 as meaning that opera omnia covered all the author's works without exception.[56]

Cardinal Ottaviani stated in April 1966 that there was too much contemporary literature and the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith could not keep up with it.[57]

See also


  1. ^ They included everything by Pietro Aretino, Machiavelli, Erasmus and Rabelais.[25]
  2. ^ These authors are instanced by Schmitt 1991.


  1. ^ a b Grendler, Paul F. "Printing and censorship" in The Cambridge History of Renaissance Philosophy, Charles B. Schmitt, ed. (Cambridge University Press, 1988, ISBN 978-0-52139748-3) pp. 45–46
  2. ^ Lenard, Max (2006). "On the origin, development and demise of the Index librorum prohibitorum". Journal of Access Services. 3 (4): 51–63. doi:10.1300/J204v03n04_05.
  3. ^ The Church in the Modern Age, (Volume 10) by Hubert Jedin, John Dolan, Gabriel Adriányi 1981 ISBN 082450013X, page 168
  4. ^ Kusukawa, Sachiko (1999). "Galileo and Books". Starry Messenger.
  5. ^ Index Librorum Prohibitorum, 1559, Regula Quarta ("Rule 4")
  6. ^ Code of Canon Law, canon 827 §3
  7. ^ Code of Canon Law, canon 830
  8. ^ Code of Canon Law, canon 832
  9. ^ John L.Heilbron, Censorship of Astronomy in Italy after Galileo (in McMullin, Ernan ed., The Church and Galileo, University of Notre Dame Press, Notre Dame, 2005, p. 307, IN. ISBN 0-268-03483-4)
  10. ^ Cardinal Saraiva calls new blessed Antonio Rosmini "giant of the culture"
  11. ^ Robert Wilson, 1997 Astronomy Through the Ages ISBN 0-7484-0748-0
  12. ^ Jesús Martínez de Bujanda, Index Librorum Prohibitorum, 1600–1966 (v. 11 in series Index des livres interdits) (Droz, Geneva, 2002 ISBN 978-2-60000818-1)
  13. ^ McLuhan, Marshall (1962), The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man (1st ed.), University of Toronto Press, ISBN 978-0-8020-6041-9 page 124
  14. ^ MacQueen, Hector L.; Waelde, Charlotte; Laurie, Graeme T. (2007). Contemporary Intellectual Property: Law and Policy. Oxford University Press. p. 34. ISBN 978-0-19-926339-4.
  15. ^ de Sola Pool, Ithiel (1983). Technologies of freedom. Harvard University Press. p. 14. ISBN 978-0-674-87233-2.
  16. ^ The Rabelais encyclopedia by Elizabeth A. Chesney 2004 ISBN 0-313-31034-3 pages 31–32
  17. ^ The printing press as an agent of change by Elizabeth L. Eisenstein 1980 ISBN 0-521-29955-1 page 328
  18. ^ Robert Jean Knecht, The Rise and Fall of Renaissance France: 1483–1610 2001, ISBN 0-631-22729-6 page 241
  19. ^ de Sola Pool, Ithiel (1983). Technologies of freedom. Harvard University Press. p. 15. ISBN 978-0-674-87233-2.
  20. ^ A companion to Descartes by Janet Broughton, John Peter Carriero 2007 ISBN 1-4051-2154-8 page
  21. ^ Der Spiegel August 18 2010 article: No Copyright Law
  22. ^ Geschichte und Wesen des Urheberrechts (History and nature of copyright) by Eckhard Höffner, July 2010 (in German) ISBN 3-930893-16-9
  23. ^ a b Schmitt 1991:45.
  24. ^ a b Studies in the History of Venice by Brown Horatio Robert Forbes p.70
  25. ^ Schmitt 1991:45.
  26. ^ Paul Oskar Kristeller (editor), Itinerarium Italicum (Brill 1975 ISBN 978-90-0404259-9), p. 90.
  27. ^ Heneghan, Thomas (2005). "Secrets Behind The Forbidden Books". America. 192 (4). Archived from the original on 26 July 2014. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
  28. ^ Green, Jonathan; Karolides, Nicholas J. (2005), Encyclopedia on Censorship, Facts on File, Inc, p. 257
  29. ^ Catholic encyclopedia
  30. ^ Lyons, Martyn. (2011). Books: A Living History. Los Angeles, CA: Getty Publications. ISBN 978-1-60606-083-4, p. 83
  31. ^ a b Richard Bonney; Confronting the Nazi War on Christianity: the Kulturkampf Newsletters, 1936–1939; International Academic Publishers; Bern; 2009 ISBN 978-3-03911-904-2; p. 122
  32. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica: Index Librorum Prohibitorum
  33. ^ "The works appearing on the Index are only those that ecclesiastical authority was asked to act upon" (Encyclopædia Britannica: Index Librorum Prohibitorum).
  34. ^ "The entanglement of Church and state power in many cases led to overtly political titles being placed on the Index, titles which had little to do with immorality or attacks on the Catholic faith. For example, a history of Bohemia, the Rervm Bohemica Antiqvi Scriptores Aliqvot ... by Marqvardi Freheri (published in 1602), was placed on the Index not for attacking the Church, but rather because it advocated the independence of Bohemia from the (Catholic) Austro-Hungarian Empire. Likewise, The Prince by Machiavelli was placed in the Index in 1559 after it was blamed for widespread political corruption in France (Curry, 1999, p.5)" (David Dusto, Index Librorum Prohibitorum: The History, Philosophy, and Impact of the Index of Prohibited Books). Archived 20 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  35. ^ Paul VI, Pope (7 December 1965). "Integrae servandae". Retrieved 10 July 2016.
  36. ^ L'Osservatore della Domenica, 24 April 1966, pg. 10.
  37. ^ Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (14 June 1966). "Notification regarding the abolition of the Index of books". Archived from the original on 7 March 2014. Retrieved 10 July 2016.
  38. ^ Stephen G. Burnett, Christian Hebraism in the Reformation Era (Brill 2012 ISBN 978-9-00422248-9), p. 236
  39. ^ a b Lucien Febvre, Henri Jean Martin, The Coming of the Book: The Impact of Printing 1450–1800 (Verso 1976 ISBN 978-1-85984108-2), pp. 245–246
  40. ^ John Michael Lewis, Galileo in France (Peter Lang 2006 ISBN 978-0-82045768-0), p. 11
  41. ^ C. B. Schmitt, Quentin Skinner, Eckhard Kessler, Renaissance Philosophy'' (Cambridge University Press 1988 ISBN 978-0-52139748-3), p. 48
  42. ^ Bernardo de Sandoval, Archbishop of Toledo Index Librorum et Expurgatorium (Louis Sanchez Typography, Madrid 1612) Regla XII
  43. ^ "Haec S. Congregatio pro Doctrina Fidei, facto verbo cum Beatissimo Patre, nuntiat Indicem suum vigorem moralem servare, quatenus Christifidelium conscientiam docet, ut ab illis scriptis, ipso iure naturali exigente, caveant, quae fidem ac bonos mores in discrimen adducere possint; eundem tamen non-amplius vim legis ecclesiasticae habere cum adiectis censuris" (Acta Apostolicae Sedis 58 (1966), p. 445). Cf. Italian text published, together with the Latin, on L'Osservatore Romano of 15 June 1966)
  44. ^ Post litteras apostolicas
  45. ^ Poem of the Man-God
  46. ^ Encyclical Fides et ratio, 74
  47. ^ McMullin, Ernan, ed. The Church and Galileo. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press. 2005. ISBN 0-268-03483-4. pp. 307, 347
  48. ^ New Yorker Magazine, August 25, 2008: The Forbidden World
  49. ^ Stead, William Thomas (1902). "The Index Expurgatorius". The Review of Reviews. 26: 498. Retrieved 8 February 2017.
  50. ^ Gifford, William (1902). "The Roman Index". The Quarterly Review. 196: 602–603. Retrieved 8 February 2017.
  51. ^ Catholic Church (1569). Index Librorum Prohibitorum cum Regulis confectis per Patres a Tridentina Synodo delectos authoritate ... Pii IIII. comprobatus. Una cum iis qui mandato Regiae Catholicae Majestatis et ... Ducis Albani, Consiliique Regii decreto prohibentur, etc. Leodii. Retrieved 8 February 2017.
  52. ^ Bujanda, Jesús Martínez de; Davignon, René (1988). Index d'Anvers, 1569, 1570, 1571. Librairie Droz. p. 196. Retrieved 8 February 2017.
  53. ^ Putnam, George Haven (1906–1907). The censorship of the church of Rome and its influence upon the production and distribution of literature : a study of the history of the prohibitory and expurgatory indexes, together with some consideration of the effects of Protestant censorship and of censorship by the state. New York: G.P. Putnam's sons. p. 250. Retrieved 8 February 2017.
  54. ^ Hilgers, Joseph (1904). Der Index der verbotenen Bücher. In seiner neuen Fassung dargelegt und rechtlich-historisch gewürdigt. Freiburg in Breisgau: Herder. pp. 145–150.
  55. ^ Rafael Martinez, professor of the philosophy of science at the Santa Croce Pontifical University in Rome, in speech reported on Catholic Ireland net Archived 7 June 2009 at the Wayback Machine Accessed 26 May 2009
  56. ^ Jesús Martínez de Bujanda, Index librorum prohibitorum: 1600–1966 (Droz 2002 ISBN 2-600-00818-7), p. 36
  57. ^ L'Osservatore della Domenica, 24 April 1966, p. 10.

External links

Alfredo Oriani

Alfredo Oriani (22 August 1852 in Faenza – 18 October 1909 in Casola Valsenio) was an Italian author, writer and social critic. He is often considered a precursor of Fascism, and in 1940 his books were placed on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum of the Catholic Church.

Anton Dereser

Anton Dereser (also known as Thaddaeus a Sancto Adamo, OCD) (3 February 1757, Fahr, Franconia –15 or 16 June 1827, Breslau) was a Discalced Carmelite professor of hermeneutics and Oriental languages.

Dereser was a Catholic representative of the Enlightenment, and promoted a rationalistic interpretation of the Bible. He had a marked tendency to take independent positions and defy authority—both secular and ecclesiastical—which involved him in numerous controversies and nearly cost him his life during the French Revolution.

As the Catholic Encyclopedia noted of him in 1913, "Dereser's combative character got him in trouble everywhere, and, though believing himself a good Catholic, he was imbued with a rationalistic, anti-Roman spirit", which made him "imbued with the shallow Rationalism of his time" and therefore "explaining away everything supernatural in Scripture and religion". This made all his writings "tainted" in the eyes of the Church authorities, though only one was placed on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum (see below) and that without the name of the author - testifying to the Church's appreciation of his talent, in spite of its dislike of his rationalism.

Apparatus ad omnium gentium historiam

Apparatus ad omnium gentium historiam (Apparatus to the history of all peoples) (1597)

The author of this impressive bibliographical guide to the library of history, Antonio Possevino was a major figure in the diplomatic and intellectual life of the Counter Reformation. His Bibliotheca selecta 1593 announces a programmatic role for history as a guiding principle in his organization of his Jesuit encyclopedia "in Historia, in Disciplinis". Possevino's De Humana Historia, Book 16, is a first elaboration of his re-edition of the culture of the ars historica as part of a papally sanctioned programme of Catholic learning. In 1597 with the printer G.B.Ciotti of Venice Possevino expanded this material into a book with this ambitious title in seven parts. Possevino's title is in direct contest with the Methodus ad facilem historiarum cognitionem 1560 of Jean Bodin. His source for this work was the Artis Historicae Penus of the Basel printer Pietro Perna. Obscuring the uses he was to make of this heterodox source the Jesuit issued a censure of the work in his Iudicium of 1592 and had had it placed on the Index librorum prohibitorum. Ciotti also printed the work translated in Italian by Possevino in 1598, Apparato all'historia di tutte le nationi et il modo di studiare la geografia. In 1602 there was a further edition, De Apparatu ad omnium gentium historia published in Venice which served as the text for an updated edition of the Bibliotheca selecta (Venice, 1603).

With this work Possevino refashioned the ars historica culture and literature of the Late Renaissance as a cornerstone of the Jesuit classicism of the Baroque. His work laid the foundation for a tradition of historical and bibliographical scholarship exemplified in the Bollandist scholars, Nathaniel Bacon's Bibliotheca scriptorum Societatis Iesu, the histories of Daniello Bartoli and other landmarks of Jesuit historiography, such as the Monumenta Historica Societatis Iesu.

Beneficio di Cristo

The Beneficio di Cristo (Trattato Utilissimo del Beneficio di Iesu Cristo Crocifisso or The Benefit of Christ's Death) was one of the most popular and influential books of spiritual devotion in sixteenth-century Europe, and reflected Italian radical (or evangelical) religious thinking of the time (the so-called Spirituali). This group sought reform within the Catholic Church by drawing inspiration from the Protestant Reformation.

It is known that the second edition was published in Venice in Italian in 1543 − although at least three editions are likely to have been published there in the 1540s, as well as one printing at Mantua). After a couple of years the book was said to have been sold in 40,000 copies and translated into English, French, Croat, and Castilian. The number is likely inflated, but the historian Benedetto Croce describes how the book, "barely off the press, ran swiftly like a torch through all Italy, igniting others". The work was certainly central to the thinking of Venetian evangelical communities, but was also read across Italy (including Bergamo and Modena).The printer Andrea Arrivabene and the bookseller Bonifacio Emilione promoted the book, although its authorship remained secret. However, in 1566 it was revealed that it had been written by a Benedictine monk called Benedetto da Mantova, residing in Sicily. The work had then been substantially edited by Marcantonio Flaminio - a protege of Juan de Valdes and Cardinal Reginald Pole, and presented mystical themes from "Valdesian" theology.

The work was heavily influenced by Jean Calvin's "Institutes" of 1539, and incorporated substantial quotes. It has been described as a "deeply Augustinian work", and stresses throughout man's absolute dependence on Christ for salvation. The first four chapters in particular expounded the doctrine of salvation by faith alone (Sola fide). Without faith in God, man is incapable of good works.

Soon after its appearance the work was placed on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum (the Index of forbidden books, first published in 1559) and successfully suppressed by the Italian Inquisition. It continued with an underground following, but even by the 1560s and 1570s was proving hard to come by. The work was believed completely lost until a copy was rediscovered in England in the 19th century in St John's College, Cambridge.

Berkley Horse

The Berkley Horse is a BDSM apparatus, designed for, and by, Theresa Berkley in 1828. She referred to it as a "chevalet".According to the account of Henry Spencer Ashbee:

A notorious machine was invented for Mrs Berkley to flog gentlemen upon, in the spring of 1828. It is capable of being opened to a considerable extent, so as to bring the body to any angle that might be desirable. There is a print in Mrs Berkley's memoirs, representing a man upon it quite naked. A woman is sitting in a chair exactly under it, with her bosom, belly, and bush exposed: she is manualizing his embolon, whilst Mrs Berkley is birching his posteriors.He continues:

When the new flogging machine was invented, the designer told her it would bring her into notice, and go by her name after her death; and it did cause her to be talked of, and brought her a great deal of business. [...] The original horse is among the models of the Society of Arts at the Adelphi, and was presented by Doctor Vance, her executor.In one surviving letter, a customer hearing about the Berkley Horse proffered Theresa Berkley this pricing for her services: "a pound sterling for the first blood drawn, two pounds sterling if the blood runs down to my heels, three pounds sterling if my heels are bathed in blood, four pounds sterling if the blood reaches the floor, and five pounds sterling if you succeed in making me lose consciousness."The Society of Arts at the Adelphi is now the Royal Society of Arts: they took possession of the Horse in 1837, with public exhibition promoted by radical publisher George Cannon. An illustration of the apparatus is reproduced in the original 1880s edition of Ashbee's Index Librorum Prohibitorum, but omitted from the 1969 reprint. It is unclear whether the original device was preserved by the Royal Society of Arts.

Book censorship

Book censorship is the act of some authority taking measures to suppress ideas and information within a book. Censorship is "the regulation of free speech and other forms of entrenched authority". Censors typically identify as either a concerned parent, community members who react to a text without reading, or local or national organizations. Marshall University Library defines a banned book as one that is "removed from a library, classroom etc." and a challenged book as one that is "requested to be removed from a library, classroom etc." Books can be censored by burning, shelf removal, school censorship, and banning books. Books are most often censored for age appropriateness, offensive language, sexual content, amongst other reasons. Similarly, religions may issue lists of banned books, such as the historical example of the Roman Catholic Church's Index Librorum Prohibitorum, which do not always carry legal force. Censorship can be enacted at the national or subnational level as well, and can carry legal penalties. Books may also be challenged at a local community level, although successful bans do not extend outside that area.

Consolatio peccatorum, seu Processus Luciferi contra Jesum Christum

Consolatio peccatorum, seu Processus Luciferi contra Jesum Christum is a tract written by Jacobus de Teramo in around 1382. This "consolation of sinners" (with the colophon Liber Bellial) is a lawsuit between Lucifer and Jesus Christ, Solomon presiding, in which the Devil is suing Christ for having trespassed by descending into Hell.

At the first trial Moses is counsel for Jesus Christ and Belial for the Devil. At the second trial the Patriarch Joseph is judge, Aristotle and Isaiah defend Jesus Christ, and the Emperor Augustus and Jeremiah defend the Devil.

In both trials the decision is in favor of Christ, but at the second trial the Devil is granted the right to take possession of the bodies and souls of the damned at the Last Judgment.

This work was printed repeatedly and translated into several languages (as Das Buch Belial it was printed at Augsburg, 1472, and, illustrated with woodcuts, 1473) but was later placed on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum. Another edition in Latin was printed by Gerard Leeu in Gouda in 1481.

It was printed as late as 1611 at Hanover, as Processus Luciferi contra Iesum coram Iudice Salomone [1].

Disputatio nova contra mulieres

Disputatio nova contra mulieres, qua probatur eas homines non esse (English translation: A new argument against women, in which it is demonstrated that they are not human beings) is a satirical misogynistic Latin-language treatise first published in 1595 and subsequently reprinted several times, particularly throughout the 17th and 18th centuries. Disputatio was written anonymously, although it has been attributed to Valens Acidalius, a 16th-century German critic.

Despite the fact that the treatise was meant to parody the Socinian Anabaptist belief that Jesus of Nazareth was not divine, several anti-feminists utilized a literal interpretation of the tract to support their views. Disputatio proved to be unusually provocative in its time for a publication of its size, which eventually led to the Catholic Holy See listing the manuscript in its Index Librorum Prohibitorum (List of Prohibited Books) on multiple occasions.

Franz Peter Knoodt

Franz Peter Knoodt (6 November 1811 – 27 January 1889) was a German Catholic theologian who was a native of Boppard.

He studied theology in Bonn und Tübingen, and later worked as a chaplain and teacher in Trier. In 1841-43 he furthered his studies in Vienna, where he was a student of Anton Günther (1783-1863). In 1844 he earned his doctorate of theology at Breslau, and in 1845 became a professor of philosophy at the Catholic faculty of theology at the University of Bonn. From May 1848 to February 1849 he was a member of the Frankfurt National Assembly.Knoodt was an ardent follower of the philosophical teachings of Anton Günther, and several years after Günther's death, he published the biographical Anton Günther. Eine Biographie (1881, 2 volumes). This work has been praised as an important source of Catholic church history. Another noted work of Knoodt's was Günther und Clemens; Offene Briefe (Günther and Franz Jakob Clemens; Open Letters, 1853–54). Both publications were placed on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum (List of Prohibited Books) by the Roman Catholic Church.

Il Santo (novel)

Il Santo is an Italian novel written by Antonio Fogazzaro and published by Baldini & Castoldi in 1905 in Milan. The novel is the third and last of a trilogy in which Piccolo Mondo Antico is the first and Piccolo Mondo Moderno is the second. Despite the fact that Fogazzaro was a devout and loyal Catholic, Il Santo was listed on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum. The Vatican's prohibition of this novel helped Fogazzaro achieve a worldwide reputation.

Jacob Ziegler

The humanist and theologian Jacob Ziegler (c. 1470/71 — August 1549) of Landau in Bavaria, was an itinerant scholar of geography and cartographer, who lived a wandering life in Europe. He studied at the University of Ingolstadt, then spent some time at the court of Pope Leo X before he converted to Protestantism; subsequently his geographical works were placed on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum.

For a time he taught at Vienna; in his old age, 1545–49, he lived in the house of Wolfgang Salm, Bishop of Passau. His portrait by Wolf Huber (c. 1485-1553), executed about 1540, when he was about seventy years old, is in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna.His main geographical treatise, Schondia, was published under the title Quae intus continentur Syria, Palestina, Arabia, Aegyptus, Schondia, Holmiae... at Strasbourg in 1532.

Johann Zanger

Johann Zanger (1557 - 6 September 1607) was a German jurist, professor of law at Wittenberg University.

Born in Brunswick, from 1576 Zanger studied law at Wittenberg University under Hugo Donellus. Subsequently studying in Italy, he gained a doctorate at Basel University in 1580. From 1581 onwards he was professor and judge at the aulic court of justice in Wittenberg. He later became a member of the court of lay assessors, the consistory and the regional court of Lower Lusatia.Zanger became first professor of law at Wittenberg in 1594. He was an author condemned in the Index Librorum Prohibitorum in 1596. He died in Wittenberg on 6 September 1607.

List of authors and works on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum

This is a selected list of authors and works listed on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum. The Index was discontinued on June 14, 1966 by Pope Paul VI.A complete list of the authors and writings present in the subsequent editions of the index are listed in J. Martinez de Bujanda, Index Librorum Prohibitorum, 1600–1966, Geneva, 2002.

The Index includes entries for single or multiple works by an author, all works by an author in a given genre or dealing with a given topic. The scope of the prohibition is defined by a Latin phrase in the Index:

Omnia opera dramatica: all plays

Omnes fabulae amatoriae: all novels, or romances

Opera omnia theologica: all theological works

Opera omnia: all works (see note below)The Index includes entries banning all works of a particular writer. Most of these were inserted in the Index at a time when the Index itself stated that the prohibition of someone's "opera omnia" (all his works) did not cover works whose contents did not concern religion and were not forbidden by the general rules of the Index, but this explanation was omitted in the 1929 edition, an omission that was officially interpreted in 1940 as meaning that thenceforth "opera omnia" covered all the author's works without exception.

Lists of banned books

The following articles contain lists of banned books:

List of authors and works on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum

List of books banned by governments

List of books banned in India

List of books banned in Iran

Luigi Tansillo

Luigi Tansillo (1510–1568) was an Italian poet of the Petrarchian school. Born in Venosa, he entered the service of Pedro Álvarez de Toledo in 1536 and in 1540 entered the Accademia degli Umidi, soon renamed Accademia Fiorentina.

He was associated with the Court of Naples and served as Captain of Justice at Gaeta.His work Il vendemmiatore, written in his youth, was considered licentious enough to be placed on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum by Pope Paul IV.His work Il podere, concerned with agronomy, was inspired by Columella with its precise observations on the choice of a good agricultural estate.

Jacquet de Berchem set some of his texts, as did Giovanni Tommaso Benedictis da Pascarola. François de Malherbe’s Larmes de Saint Pierre, imitated from Tansillo, appeared in 1587, and in 1594 Orlando di Lasso also set Le lagrime di San Pietro. William Roscoe’s translation of Tansillo's Nurse appeared in 1798, and went through several editions. Tansillo died in Teano at the age of 58.

Pierre Batiffol

Pierre Batiffol (27 January 1861, Toulouse, France – 13 January 1929, Paris, France) – was a French Catholic priest and prominent theologian, specialising in Church history. He had also a particular interest in the history of dogma.

Batiffol studied from 1878 at the priest seminary Saint-Sulpice in Paris, was ordained in 1884 and continued his studies at the Institut catholique in Paris and at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes. He was taught by church historian Louis Marie Olivier Duchesne.

Under Giovanni Battista de Rossi in Rome, he studied from 1887 to 1889 the archaeology, research and liturgical antique Christian literature. From 1889 to 1898 and from 1907 until 1929, he lectured at Ecole Sainte-Barbe in Paris. Together with his friend Marie-Joseph Lagrange OP, Batiffol founded in 1892 the magazine "Revue Biblique" for the historical-critical method of exegesis of the Old and New Testament. In 1899 he founded the "Bulletin de littérature ecclésiastique".

In 1898 he became the head of the Institut catholique in Toulouse. He used historical criticism method in his theological research. He applied strict critical method while studying the Church dogma and history as well as manuscripts of the Holy Scripture. He lost his chair in the Institute in the aftermath of the publication of Pascendi dominici gregis (8 September 1907) encyclical of Pope Pius X. That was due particularly to his book on the Eucharist (1905) being put on Index librorum prohibitorum and his affinity to the historical criticism method. He was considered falling into the Catholic modernism.

Batiffol examined Codex Beratinus, Beratinus II, Codex Curiensis, and several other manuscripts. He rediscovered and described Codex Vaticanus 2061 in 1887.

Religious censorship

Religious censorship is a form of censorship where freedom of expression is controlled or limited using religious authority or on the basis of the teachings of the religion. This form of censorship has a long history and is practiced in many societies and by many religions. Examples include the Edict of Compiègne, the Index Librorum Prohibitorum (list of prohibited books) and the condemnation of Salman Rushdie's novel The Satanic Verses by Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

Religious censorship can also take form in the destruction of monuments and texts that contradict or conflict with the religion practiced by the oppressors, such as attempts to censor the Harry Potter book series. Destruction of historic places is another form of religious censorship. One cited incident of religious censorship was the destruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyan statues in Afghanistan by radical Islamists as part of their religious goal of oppressing another religion.

William Laurence Sullivan

William Laurence Sullivan (November 15, 1872—October 5, 1935) was an American Unitarian clergyman, prolific author and literary critic, whose Letters to His Holiness, Pope Pius X (1910), was the last work by a U.S. author to have been placed on Vatican's list of prohibited books (Index Librorum Prohibitorum).

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