In the Beginning . . .

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The practice of banning books has been a thing since the beginning of the written word.

The censorship of information has been one of humankind’s great tricks throughout recorded history. Censorship of ideas is an ancient tradition of thought, and there is every reason to believe that our human compulsion to hide knowledge is an instinct of which we are only dimly aware.

I think the first books banned were the Bible, The Decameron, and the works of Ovid. It is difficult to determine the first banned book in the world, as the concept of a forbidden book has likely existed for as long as the concept of written communication. However, one of the earliest known examples of a banned book is the Hebrew Bible, which the ancient Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten forbade in the 14th century BC. The Hebrew Bible was later banned by various other rulers and governments throughout history, including the Roman Empire and the Soviet Union.

Banned books are often the greatest works of literature, creating and capturing a way of thinking not always common to the masses. It is this very aspect of them that leads people and groups fearful of knowledge in the general masses to try to keep them from us.

Books banned and censored do not stay prohibited. “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” was banned, edited, and burned in England once and in America six times. Many of the most beautiful books are just one sentence, one paragraph, or even one article away from being banned. However, they may escape being banned; they are lost, censored, restricted, or embargoed. We have entities all around us that seek to rid us of knowledge. It is up to us as individuals and as groups to work continually to keep this from becoming permanent.

Perhaps interested groups should record all “banned” books ourselves, in secret.

A “blacklist” of banned books is as old as the prohibited books themselves. It may be interesting to note that no book has been blacklisted forever.

As we go forward, we will zero in on many books that have been forbidden over the years. Some have been banned, then unbanned, and then will appear on the prohibited list again over the years. We will also explore the reasons and the communities behind this age-old process.

Please accept our invitation to take this virtual journey with us. Feel free to comment and expand our knowledge at any time. We have a lot of adventures ahead of us so let’s get started!

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