Wiki lists fifty-nine of the most infamous book burning episodes in history. It goes back as early as the 3rd century BCE and as recently as May 2008. It lists acts of book burning in Asia, the Middle East, Europe, America, the Far East, virtually the entire world, or more succinctly, what we refer to as “the Civilized World”, by various cultures . While certainly not a complete list of every such event, it captures the most historically note worthy. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_burning#Christian_books_.28by_Diocletian.29
Interestingly, but not surprisingly twenty-three of these acts of book burning, almost 40%, were by Christians, both Catholics and Protestants. The subject matter of the volumes that drew their ire was diverse: science, philosophy, competing interpretations of Christian doctrine (AKA heretical texts), Jewish text, fiction, history, and various “black arts”.
The earliest of these burnings were more than ceremonial, they were intended to obliterate any competing information or position, whether factual or opinion, that was counter to the teachings of the established Christian hierarchy. It was meant to completely eradicate such thought so as to prevent it from becoming known and spread. For if knowledge became accessible to the masses; if dissenting thought becomes rooted; if people begin to question doctrine and mandated thought; then the powerbase of the Church becomes undermined, and its source of sustenance jeopardized, namely the masses.
Many volumes were lost to history, some survived. In a few notable cases, like Michael Servetus, 16th century physician and discoverer of the human circulatory system, the author was burned alive along with what was believed to be the last volume of his heretical work. Fortunately, three volumes of his dissertation against the non-Biblical doctrine of the Trinity, and for a purer and kinder flavor of Christianity survived. It only cost him his life, his thoughts live on in his book, and through Unitarianism.
While secular institutions and other religions are guilty of similar acts of intolerance and barbarism in their thirst to retain power and suppress free thought, not one institution, not one other religion, not one nation or political persuasion throughout history comes close to Christianity in pure volume of book burnings over such a sustained period of time. It continues to this day.
If prizes were awarded for suppressing ideas, attempting to control people's thoughts, keep people in ignorance, and destroying civilization’s most revered source of knowledge, Christianity would win hands down. Congratulations Christianity, we knew you had it in you