Systematisches Repertorium zur Buchzensur 1701-1813. Indexkongregation und Inquisition

© Ferdinand Schöningh

Burning pyres, the persecution of heretics and banning books - that is what the Inquisition is commonly known for. But what about its historical reality? This large-scale research project funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) has set itself the task of reappraising the history of book censorship in the Roman Inquisition and the Congregation of the Index (1542 to 1966). For the first time, the tangible work of both Congregations has been documented through meticulously detailed archival research. In 2005, the volumes covering the period from 1814 to 1917 were presented. Six more volumes have since been published covering the period from 1701 to 1813. Information on all the books that were investigated in Rome, regardless of their field of knowledge and scholarship, information on all censors and all their judgments relating to book censorship are made accessible and usable across disciplines in this volume of internationally oriented, foundational work.

Although it was in the interest of the Inquisition and the Congregations of the Index to disseminate their prohibition judgements, they were careful to ensure that no one could question their decision-making processes. Who was behind the bans, how did they come about and, above all, which books were investigated but not banned? The answers to these questions were a closely guarded secret for a long time. The repertories lift the veil. The participating cardinals and censors for all sessions of the Congregation of the Index have been identified, the agendas, prohibition broadsides and corresponding expert reports (and their authors) have been determined, and the books discussed have been bibliographically documented in accordance with present-day standards. All censors' reports on the individual works have been described in a detailed review of the relevant Inquisitorial files and, in addition, theattached books, articles, manuscripts and essays have been identified. The repertories are not only a convenient research tool for the Archive of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, they also provide an overall impression of the censorship activities carried out by the Inquisition and the Congregation of the Index.

Published in the series "Basic Research on the Roman Inquisition and the Congregation of the Index": Hubert WOLF (ed.), carried out by Andreea B. BADEA, Jan Dirk BUSEMANN, Volker DINKELS, Bruno BOUTE and Cecilia CRISTELLON, Systematisches Repertorium zur Buchzensur 1701-1813. Indexkongregation und Inquisition (Römische Inquisition und Indexkongregation. Grundlagenforschung II: 1701-1813), Paderborn et alibi 2009, CXIX, 1468 pages (2 volumes), hardcover, ISBN: 978-3-506-76834-6.