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The most thoroughly Christianized nations hardly began to recover from the church's eclipse of learning until the present century. In Spain for example, the tradition of book-burning became an integral part of the auto-da-fe in 1502. It was against the law for any layman to read any book not approved by the bishops. To own vernacular copies of either Testament of the Bible was punishable by burning at the stake. Reading declined to almost nothing. What few grammar schools existed were only "superficial preparation for the priesthood." Still, many priests were illiterate. General education was attempted only after the revolutions of 1834 and 1855, when the monasteries were suppressed. Yet in 1896, more than two-thirds of the population were still unable to read or write.

— Barbara G. Walker; The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets view

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