Internet Sacred Text Archive

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Internet Sacred Text Archive
Internet Sacred Text Archive logo.jpg
Web address
Commercial? No
Type of site
Digital library
Registration None
Owner John Bruno Hare
Created by John Bruno Hare
Launched March 9, 1999
Alexa rank
23,153 (Global ranking, July 2012)[1]

The Internet Sacred Text Archive (ISTA) is a Santa Cruz, CA based website dedicated to the preservation of electronic public domain texts, specifically those with significant cultural value. Works which fall into this category range from religious texts such as the Bible, the Qur'an, the Avestas, the I Ching, or the Vedas, to the classical literature of Virgil, Plato, or Sophocles, and on to the more contemporary works of Shakespeare, or the Brothers Grimm.

In addition, ISTA compiles texts of Native American religion, mythology and folklore, and lists historical texts and ethnographic accounts by culture group.[2] These texts were written from oral tradition by respected "ethnographers who were known for their careful and respectful approach to the people they studied."[3]


The website was first opened to the public on March 9, 1999 by John Bruno Hare (July 8, 1955 – April 27, 2010), in Santa Cruz, California, USA.[4] Hare started building the website from his home in Santa Cruz, CA in the late 1990s, as "an intellectual challenge". At the time, he was working as a software engineer with a dot-com company, and started by scanning over 1,000 public domain books on religion, folklore and mythology [5] Its texts are organized into 77 different categories, with several new texts being added each month.[6] The maintenance costs for the website—which as of 2006 receives anywhere from five hundred thousand to two million visits a day—are funded by sales of the website on DVD or CD-ROM and other monetary donations.[4]

While the majority of visitors seem to recognize the valuable resource the website provides,[7] the ISTA has still suffered several denial-of-service attacks since its inception.[8] The first major attack on the website came on March 13, 2002 and lasted for 10 days. After the site administrator successfully traced the attack to a university in Berlin, and had the user responsible barred from using the computers there, he received an email from the attacker himself, an excerpt from which may aid in understanding his and others' motivations for attacking the website: "I surely can not agree with to mix up all the pagan cults, idols, witchcrafts (6. & 7. book of 'Moses'), esoteric, ocullt [sic], theosophic and even satanic views and the God that created heaven and earth that hates these former things with one another without distinction."[7] To this e-mail, Mr. Hare replied, "The site usually gets very a positive response, and I get emails from people of all faiths saying that it is a valuable resource. Unfortunately, there are also a lot of people who don't like the idea of religious tolerance and are willing to go to any extreme to quash it. I'm just glad the whole episode is over."[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ sacred-texts
  2. ^ "Guide to Research in Native American Religions". University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Retrieved 15 November 2012. 
  3. ^ Hare, John. "Native American Religions". ISTA. Retrieved 15 November 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Hare, John. "About Sacred-Texts". Retrieved 2006-11-07. 
  5. ^ "Sacred Pages". The New York Times. November 25, 2004. 
  6. ^ Hare, John. "What's New?". Retrieved 2010-04-04. 
  7. ^ a b "German Hacker foiled" (Press release). Internet Sacred Text Archive. 2002-03-26. Retrieved 2006-11-07. 
  8. ^ Hare, John. "Abuse of". Retrieved 2006-11-07. 
  9. ^

External links[edit]