is the practice of ceremoniously destroying by fire one or more copies of a book
or other written material. In modern times other forms of media, such as records
and video tapes
, have also been ceremoniously burned. The practice, often carried out publicly, is usually motivated by moral, political
objections to the material.
"Burning books and killing scholars" in 212 BC is counted as the greatest crime of Qin Shi Huang Di of China.
The writer Heinrich Heine famously said in 1821 "Where they burn books, they will end in burning human beings." (Dort, wo man Bücher verbrennt, verbrennt man am Ende auch Menschen). Just over a century later the Nazis did exactly as Heine had forecast.
The Ray Bradbury novel Fahrenheit 451 is about a fictional future society that has institutionalized book burning.
Incidents of book burnings have included:
- Following the advice of Li Si, Qin Shi Huang Di ordered all philosophy books and history books from states other than Qin (state)-except copies in the imperial library for official uses--to be burned. 212 BC
- Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. Acts 19:19
- The books of Arius and his followers (325 CE), after the first Council of Nicaea, for heresy.
- The books of Nestorius, after an edict of Theodosius II, for heresy (435 CE).
- In 1233 Maimonides' "Guide of the Perplexed" was burnt at Montpellier, Southern France.
- In 1497 the Bonfire of the Vanities, preached by Girolamo Savonarola, consumed pornography, lewd pictures, pagan books, gaming tables, cosmetics, copies of Boccaccio's Decameron, and all the works of Ovid which could be found in Florence.
- The works of Jewish authors and other "degenerate" books were burned by the Nazis in the 1930s and 1940s.
- May 10, 1933 in the Opernplatz, Berlin, Germany, SA troops and student groups burn over 20,000 books, including works by Thomas Mann, Erich Maria Remarque, Karl Marx and H.G. Wells.
- The Satanic Verses, burnt by Muslims who considered it blasphemous
- the Harry Potter books, burnt by American Christians who considered them satanic
- the book Making of a Godol: A Study of Episodes in the Lives of Great Torah Personalities (2003) by Nathan Kamenetsky has been banned in ultra-orthodox Jewish circles and "publicly burnt in the famed yeshiva of Lakewood, N.J.". 
- please add more famous book burnings here, in chronological order if possible
Other famous items ceremoniously burnt in protest: