List of authors and works on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum

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The complete works of Gregorio Leti ("Critique historique" pictured) were listed, including his treatise on cardinal-nephews and his biographies of Olimpia Maidalchini and Pope Sixtus V.

This is a selected list of authors and works listed on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum. The Index was abolished on June 14, 1966 by Pope Paul VI.[1]

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.

Some notable authors and intellectuals whose works are widely read today in leading universities worldwide and are now considered as the foundations of science were listed on the Index. E.g. Kepler's Astronomia nova and World Harmony were quickly placed on the Index after their publication.[2] Other examples of noteworthy intellectuals and religious figures who were on the Index include Martin Luther, Jean-Paul Sartre, Voltaire, John Calvin, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, René Descartes, Francis Bacon, Huldrych Zwingli and Blaise Pascal.

Works listed[edit]

With some writers, only certain books were banned: Samuel Richardson (Pamela), Emanuel Swedenborg (The Principia), or Immanuel Kant (Critique of Pure Reason), for example. Alfred Rosenberg's Der Mythus des 20. Jahrhunderts (The Myth of the Twentieth Century) and his An die Dunkelmänner unserer Zeit: eine Antwort auf die Angriffe gegen den "Mythus des 20. Jahrhundert" (Regarding The Dark Men of Our Time: an Answer to the Problems against the "Myth of the Twentieth Century"), were condemned by decrees of February 7, 1934 and of July 17, 1935 respectively. Ernst Bergmann's Die deutsche Nationalkirche (The German National Church) and his Die natürliche Geistlehre (Natural Spirit Teachings), by decrees of February 7, 1934 and November 17, 1937.

Authors' complete works listed[edit]

In a few cases, according to The Book of Lists by Irving Wallace, Amy Wallace and David Wallechinsky, all works of a particular writer were on the Index: Thomas Hobbes, Émile Zola, Jean-Paul Sartre. As for Benedict Spinoza, the Church put all of his posthumous works on the Index.

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.[5]


Among the notable writers on the list were Simone de Beauvoir, Jean Buridan and Laurence Sterne, as well as the Dutch sexologist Theodoor Hendrik van de Velde, author of the sex manual The Perfect Marriage.

Reversals and non-inclusions[edit]

There have been cases of reversal with respect to works that were on the Index, such as those of Nicolaus Copernicus and Galileo Galilei: "The Inquisition's ban on reprinting Galileo's works was lifted in 1718 when permission was granted to publish an edition of his works (excluding the condemned Dialogue) in Florence. In 1741 Pope Benedict XIV authorized the publication of an edition of Galileo's complete scientific works which included a mildly censored version of the Dialogue. In 1758 the general prohibition against works advocating heliocentrism was removed from the Index of prohibited books, although the specific ban on uncensored versions of the Dialogue and Copernicus's De Revolutionibus remained. All traces of official opposition to heliocentrism by the church disappeared in 1835 when these works were finally dropped from the Index."[citation needed]

Not on the Index were Aristophanes, Juvenal, John Cleland, James Joyce and D. H. Lawrence. According to Wallace et al., this was because the primary criterion for banning the work was anticlericalism, blasphemy and heresy.

Some authors whose views are generally unacceptable to the Church (e.g. Karl Marx or Adolf Hitler) were never put on the Index; nor was Charles Darwin (see Evolution and the Roman Catholic Church).[8][9]


  1. ^ "Galileo and Books", Department of History and Philosophy of Science of the University of Cambridge
  2. ^ "The Congregation of the Index", The Galileo Project, Rice University
  3. ^ a b Indec Librovm Prohibitorvm – 1948
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x Halsall, Paul (May l, 1998). "Modern History Sourcebook: Index librorum prohibitorum, 1557–1966 (Index of Prohibited Books)". Internet History Sourcebooks Project (Fordham University).  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  5. ^ Jesús Martínez de Bujanda, Index librorum prohibitorum: 1600-1966 (Droz 2002 ISBN 2-600-00818-7), p. 36
  6. ^ On the Origins and Perpetual Use of the Legislative Powers of the Apostolic Kings of Hungary in Matters Ecclesiastical. Vienna, 1764.
  7. ^ Principles of Political Economy placed on Index in 1856; Seldes, G. 1934. The Vatican - Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow. London. p. 180.
  8. ^ Vatican opens up secrets of Index of Forbidden Books.
  9. ^ Heneghan, Tom, "Secrets Behind The Forbidden Books", America, The National Catholic Weekly, February 7, 2005

External links[edit]