Theologian Thursday: Banned Books edition

It's unfortunately unsurprising that many challenges and bannings of books have been headed up by the Church--either as an institution itself or by its members.

In fact, from 1557-1966, the Roman Catholic Church had an index of prohibited books, which was a list of books and authors that members were restricted from reading in order to "protect" them from a corruption of their faith.

Quite a few big names made it in the index, theologian and otherwise, including some theologians I've profiled on this blog!

Here's a bit of an abridged list of highlights, adapted from a page on Fordham University's website.

  • Abelard
  • Calvin
  • Descartes
  • Erasmus
  • Hobbes
  • Hugo
  • Kant
  • Locke
  • Rousseau
  • Sartre
  • Voltaire
Luckily, the Church no longer bans books in an official capacity, but that is a small boon when you consider how often Christians are entangled in book banning crusades even today. While I can understand the value of being a community set apart, that is no excuse for denying people their freedoms.

It all comes back to that simplest of arguments: If you don't like a book, don't read it.

You can't tell people how to read, how to think, or how to live.