Name: "The Talmud"

Date:  1000 - 1499

Location:  Middle East and Caucasus , Europe , Russia and Central Asia

SubjectReligious , Political/Economic/Social Opinion


Artist: Various

Confronting Bodies: Dominicans, Franciscans, Pope Clement IV, the Inquisition, USSR State.

Date of Action: 1190

Specific Location: Egypt, France Italy, Spain, Soviet Union.

Description of Artwork: "The Talmud and Midrash in Judaism commentaries and interpretive writings second in authority only to the Bible. The term Talmud commonly refers to a compilation consisting of the Mishana (oral laws supplementing spiritual laws), the Gemara; and certain auxillary materials. For most scholars, however, Talmud in the precise sense refers only to the materials customarily called Gemara, the commentary on Mishana.

Description of Incident: 1190 Egypt-Cairo : With his "Guide for the Perplexed", Maimonides, the Jewish philosopher, aroused the Christian's resentment. 1244 France-Paris : "Talmud" burned on charges of blasphemy and immorality. The book was persecuted in various places for another 100 years. 1244 Italy-Rome : Pope Clement IV appointed a committee of censors who expunged all passages that appeared derogatory of Christianity. (Talmudic references to ancient paganism were widely misrepresented as criticism of the Church.) 1926 Soviet Union : Official directions to libraries stated "The section on religion must obtain solely anti-religious books. Religiously dogmatic books such as the 'Gospel', the 'Koran', the 'Talmud', etc. must be left in the large libraries, but removed from smaller ones².

Results of Incident: 1190 Egypt-Cairo : First official burning of Hebrew books by orders of Dominicans, Franciscans, and others. 1490 Spain-Salamanca : In an auto-da-fé, thousands of Hebrew books including biblical texts were burned by order of the Inquisition. 1926 Soviet Union : virtually no printing of the work since then.

Source: Banned Books 387 B.C. to 1978 A.D., by Anne Lyon Haight, and Chandler B. Grannis, R.R. Bowker Co, 1978.

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