Editor's Note: This excerpted decree from relatively early in the 19th century shows how carefully Jewish books were controlled by the Russian authorities.
Ch. III. -- Composition of the principal and other Censorship Committees.
§ 9. . . . . . . .
§ 15. One of the censors of the Vilna Censorship Committee must perfectly know the Hebrew, Rabbinical and Yiddish languages for the purpose of examining Jewish books.
Ch. XVI. -- On Jewish books.
§ 194. It is prohibited for Jewish books to be published at this time in Russia without the authorization of the censors.
§ 195. It is permitted to print in Russia the following Jewish books: 1) books of holy scripture without commentary, and 2)
prayer-books without supplements on extraneous topics.
§ 196. For the examination of other Jewish books, censors, beyond the general rules, are to be particularly guided by the following below:
§ 197. Books which contain criticism of Christianity and its divine founding are strictly prohibited.
§ 198. Likewise prohibited is printing a book in which Jews are instilled with hatred or contempt for people of other faiths and teaching rules contrary to morality and societal improvement, as for example: that it is prohibited to testify for the benefit of a Christian, or that it is allowed to swindle a Christian.
§ 199. Disputed books amongst the Jewish sects can be approved for printing provided there is nothing not tolerable in contradiction of censorship regulations.
§ 200. The aforesaid and in the two preceeding chapters on private direction of censors doesn't free them from precisely observing the general rules, contained in the Regulation on Censorship.
Ch. XVII. . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . .
Resolved. It is final (V.P.S.Z. Vol. I, No. 403)
** Promulgated by the Senate July 31.