Christians banned from reading the bible

Why were Christians banned from reading the bible during the middle ages?

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    Decree of the Council of Toulouse (1229 C.E.): “We prohibit also that the laity should be permitted to have the books of the Old or New Testament; but we most strictly forbid their having any translation of these books.”

    Ruling of the Council of Tarragona of 1234 C.E.: “No one may possess the books of the Old and New Testaments in the Romance language, and if anyone possesses them he must turn them over to the local bishop within eight days after promulgation of this decree, so that they may be burned…”

    There would be a copy of the Latin Vulgate Bible in big Catholic churches. Trouble was, you had to be able to read Old Latin. Given that only classically taught scholars (like priests and land-lords and politicians) could read that ancient language, most Christians just could not read the Bibles in their churches and they never got to universities either.

    What was banned by Catholic leaders was the translating of ye olde Latin Bible into vernacular languages (not even the original languages the Bible had been written in, Hebrew hundreds of years before Jesus was born for the OT, and koine Greek for the scriptures written before the end of the 1st century.) Some scholars who dared defy this Catholic ban were burned alive at the stake. And certainly all their scholarly work was destroyed.

    However, determined men achieved the translation of the Bible into original, then vernacular languages, copies were printed and the general public finally got to read the Bible with understanding. This caused great fear of Bible truth becoming known to the laity. That fear was expressed by the cardinals of the Roman court to Pope Julius III, in 1550, when they said:
    “The Bible is the book that, more than any other, has raised against us the tumults and tempest by which we have almost perished. In fact, if anyone examines closely and compares the teaching of the Bible with what takes place in our churches he will soon find discord, and will realize that our teachings are often different from the Bible and oftener still contrary to it, and if the people wake up to this they will never stop challenging us till everything is laid bare and then we shall become the object of universal scorn and hatred. Therefore, it is necessary to withdraw the Bible from the sight of the people, but with extreme caution in order not to cause rebellion.”

    Thank God they failed.

    Answered on September 14, 2018.
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