Wednesday, May 02, 2007


Balancing the Books

Let's see if you can tell what these people have in common:
Nicolaus Copernicus
Rene Descartes
Emile Zola
Daniel Defoe
Dun Scotus
Galileo Galilei
Girolamo Savonarola
Giovanni Boccaccio
Niccolo Machiavelli
Desiderius Erasmus
Immanuel Kant
John Milton
Jonathan Swift
Those are just some of the authors of 138 books currently on display at the Loyola University Museum of Art. The exhibit is titled "Science and Faith Between Observance and Censorship." All of the books were on the infamous Index Librorum Prohibitorum, a list of forbidden titles compiled by the Roman Inquisition (which subsequently became the Holy Office and is known today as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith). The list was last published in 1948, and was completely abolished by Vatican II in the 1960s.

The exhibit is presently at Loyola University of Chicago, which is run by the Jesuits, a Catholic religious order officially known as the Society of Jesus. The University is named after St. Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the order, who once said "I will believe that the white that I see is black if the hierarchical Church so defines it."

Live and learn?
A couple of minor points -

This is Loyola University of Chicago. There are other Loyola universities, for example, one in New Orleans.

The one real puzzling name on the list is Euclid. Perhaps this was a particular edition with additional material? (Not that the other names make me particularly happy, of course.)
Your quite right about the identity of the school, so I've made the correction.

As to Euclid, it kind of surprised me too but a quick search didn't reveal why or what of Euclid's was banned.
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