(NY Times Beliefs) Across Religions, Persistent Battles Over What the Faithful May Read

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...the [recent Margaret Farley] episode raises anew the question, always lurking in the cathedral, of who decides what we’re allowed to read, and how we’re supposed to read it. In religion, who controls the books?

In the Reformation, Protestants were persecuted for making the Bible available in vernacular translations, so that laypeople, in addition to priests, could read it. But translation was just one battleground in the war over who controls religious literature. And while the battles have been particularly fierce in the Catholic Church, they are not unique to Catholicism, or Christianity.

“The papacy was not the first to begin this idea of censoring books,” said John W. O’Malley, a Jesuit priest and historian at Georgetown University. “The indices of books that were prohibited, at the universities of Paris and Louvain and so forth, started in the 16th century. It all began with printing.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchBooksHistoryReligion & CultureScience & Technology

2 Comments
Posted June 9, 2012 at 1:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Timothy wrote:

“In the Reformation, Protestants were persecuted for making the Bible available in vernacular translations, so that laypeople, in addition to priests, could read it.”

The myth raises its head once again. Any persecutions were for unauthorized translations of the Bible, not for vernacular translations. The Church wrote the Bible, selected the canon, painstakingly protected the Bible by hand copying, and later mass produced the Bible by printing it. Thus, the Church is the authority on its translation and interpretation. That authority includes identifying which books faithfully transmit the faith handed down from the Apostles and which do not.
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Interesting to read about Islam dabbling in history and archeology. That could be mortal to their faith as there is no historical evidence for the existence of the prophet Muhammad. If Muhammad never actually existed, then the Koran could not have been dictated by an angel to Muhammad. No Prophet, no Koran, no Islam.

June 9, 5:35 pm | [comment link]
2. NoVA Scout wrote:

I would think it fairly difficult to prove, by historic research, archaeology or any other discipline that a specific person who is said to have lived centuries ago did not exist.  I have reluctant doubts about some of the colorful heroes of Greek times (e.g., Ulysses, Achilles), but I would be hard pressed to prove authoritatively that they did not exist.

June 9, 7:52 pm | [comment link]
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