Page 17 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 28

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a rm il l y
e inberger
— C
en sor sh ip
o f
these revisers is displayed in the appearance of the books they
oversaw: whole pages deleted, passages omitted, and sentences
changed altering the meaning. A Hebrew book could conceivably
go through frequent revisions, because the Church did not trust
its own officials appointed for the task. Books were brought to
revisers by government authorities who confiscated them; some-
times by the owners themselves. A study of the lists of these
confiscated books sheds light on Jewish intellectual life, especially
in Italy of the sixteenth to the seventeenth centuries.
Index librorum prohibitorum
of 1559, published by Pope
Paul IV, lists the books which had been banned until that time.
The last issue, published in 1948, enumerates banned works by
Jews, converted Jews, and non-Jews dealing with Jewish subjects.
Among the forbidden Hebrew books are
En Yaakob
by Rabbi
Yaakob ibn Habib, published together with
Sefer Bet Lehem
by Rabbi Yehuda Arye de Modena;
Shaare Tsiyyon
Rabbi Nathan Nata ben Moses Hannover (Prague, 1662); Kab-
balistic works, at first accepted but later banned because their
publication did not convert Jews to Christianity. This had been
the hope of the Church in permitting the
in Mantua, 1558/
1559. When their expectations were frustrated, the books of the
Kabbalah were listed in the
Index of forbidden books,
some under
the general heading “Kabbalistic Work,” and others by title, like
Eshel Abraham
by Rabbi Mordehai ben Rabbi Yehuda Leb
Ashkenazi (Fuerth, 1701) which was banned on October 19, 1702.
Books of general philosophy were not spared; the works of
Baruch Spinoza were placed on the
in 1679 and 1690.
Joseph Salvador’s
H istoire des institutions et du peuple hebreu
(Paris, 1828),
Jesus-Christ et sa doctrine
(Paris, 1838), and Joseph
Les Deicides examen de la d ivin ite de Jesus-Christ et de
I’eglise chretienne au point de vue du Judaisme
(Paris, n.d.) were
historical works banned because their depiction of the trial of
Jesus was unacceptable to the Church. For the same reason the
works of Edmond Fleg (enheimer),
L ’Enfant prophete
1926) and
Jesus, raconte par le ju if errant
(Paris, 1933), found
their way onto the
It should come as no surprise that the Latin translation of the
H ilkho t Avodah Zara (De idolatria liber cum inter-
pretatione latina et notis Dionysii Vosii)
should have been placed
on the
when the very words
avodah zara
had to be deleted.
The Latin work by Manasseh ben Israel
De resurrectione mor•
libri III (concerning the resurrection of the dead) did
not win the approval of the Church. His ideas about the immortal-
ity of the soul did not correspond to those of the Church and on
January 11, 1656 the book was banned.
At the end of the eighteenth century the powers of the censor