An Exact Reprint of the Roman Index Expurgatorius. The only vatican index of this kind ever published., Edited, with a preface, by Richard Gibbings, A. B., scholar of Trinity College, Dublin. (Milliken and Son, booksellers to the university; William Curry, Jun. and Co.; J. G. and F. Rivington, London, 1837)
4.25″ x 6.75″, 608pp, hardcover, red boards with gilt titles on spine, Index Expurgatorius title page in red and black, former library, library bookplate on front pastedown “The Reynolds Library, 1884”, stamps “Literature Division”, preface in english, text in latin, professionally repaired with binders tape
This is an exact reprint of the Index Expurgatorius of 1608. Aside from the extensive and scholarly preface written in English, the index itself is written in the original latin.
The Index Expurgatorius is a list of books that the Roman Catholic Church forbade its members to read unless certain passages condemned as dangerous to faith or morals were deleted or changed. This is different from the Index Librorum Prohibitorum which was a list of publications deemed heretical, or contrary to morality and thus Catholics were forbidden to read.
In 1571, a special congregation was created, the Sacred Congregation of the Index, which had the specific task to investigate those writings that were denounced in Rome as being not exempt of errors, to update the list of Pope Pius IV regularly and also to make lists of required corrections in case a writing was not to be condemned absolutely but only in need of correction; it was then listed with a mitigating clause (e.g., donec corrigatur (forbidden until corrected) or donec expurgetur (forbidden until purged)).
Several times a year, the congregation held meetings. During the meetings, they reviewed various works and documented those discussions. In between the meetings was when the works to be discussed were thoroughly examined, and each work was scrutinized by two people. At the meetings, they collectively decided whether or not the works should be included in the Index. Ultimately, the pope was the one who had to approve of works being added or removed from the Index. It was the documentation from the meetings of the congregation that aided the pope in making his decision.
This sometimes resulted in very long lists of corrections, published in the Index Expurgatorius, which was cited by Thomas James in 1627 as “an invaluable reference work to be used by the curators of the Bodleian library when listing those works particularly worthy of collecting”.