It was on this date, January 26, 1564, that Pope Pius IV, in a document called “Benedictus Deus,” ratifying the proceedings of the Council of Trent, instituted the ten rules for suppressing free thought and thereby created the Index of Prohibited Books. There was no real Index until 1564 because literature and literacy were so rare and so centralized (in universities, mainly) that the Church could reach out and snuff anyone who looked askance at its forgeries and faults. The real impetus for the Index and censorship was the rising Protestant tide and the dispersal of people the Church could not reach.…
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Originally published January 2003 by Ronald Bruce Meyer.
What the Encyclopedia Britannica doesn't mention is the Rationalist philosophy evident in “Till Eulenspiegels Merry Pranks.”