The Index of Prohibited Books: Four Centuries of Struggle Over Word and Image for the Greater Glory of God

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Product Details

$35.00  $32.55
Reaktion Books
Publish Date
6.47 X 9.45 X 1.14 inches | 1.36 pounds

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About the Author

Robin Vose is professor of history at St. Thomas University in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada. He is the author of Dominicans, Muslims and Jews in the Medieval Crown of Aragon and has served as a National Geographic expert on expeditions to Spain and Morocco.


"Vose's clear, concise book is a valuable account of a force that invisibly shaped the modern world. It's also a mature look at the messy realities of censorship and control--tendencies that can't always be avoided, but should perhaps be subject to suspicion, examination, and discontent. The Index can no longer forbid, but it can still warn."-- "Spectator"
"Vose's fascinating history of the Index of Prohibited Books is a meticulously researched scholarly work, accessible to amateur and expert alike. His light touch keeps the story moving across four hundred years, without sacrificing detail. And what a story it is--a tale of the Catholic Church as an institution moving from traditional to bureaucratic authority with all the constant challenges of maintaining relevance and legitimacy. This history of censorship could not be more relevant to today's politics, where censorship and surveillance are ever-greater threats to democracy. Vose has made an important and timely contribution to our understanding of how institutional censorship remains a thoroughly modern tool of control and suppression."--Penelope Stewart, Professor Emerita, York University, Toronto
"The Index of Prohibited Books strikes a perfect balance between the scholar's attempt genuinely to understand the motivations of those who sought to correct and control what was put before the eyes of the faithful and a modern observer's distress at what was lost in the process. Vose introduces the reader to a fascinating cast of characters, from well-intentioned and devoted intellectuals to persons who sought to roguishly use the Roman Index or other national or local Indexes to settle scores in personal, political, and theological disputes. What emerges is a picture of a chaotic, all-too human set of institutions, in which contingency, accident, context, and personality led to a series of ever evolving and highly inconsistent decisions. Much as we may think this story is long behind us, The Index of Prohibited Books has profound implications for us all in the here and now."--Laura Ackerman Smoller, Professor of History, University of Rochester, New York
"Vose does a superb job of explaining the nuances, complexities and
missing pieces of this narrative, which transforms this book from
simply a static recounting of a piece of Catholic doctrine to a dynamic
analysis of a cultural and historical phenomenon."-- "Americans United"
"Although Banned Books Week is a relatively recent invention, the issue of censorship spans a far longer timeline and a far wider geographical scope. A newly released book, The Index of Prohibited Books: Four Centuries of Struggle over Word and Image for the Greater Glory of God, gives us a glimpse into some of this history and the importance it holds for debates about censorship today."-- "Church & State"