Religious text

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The Septuagint: A page from Codex Vaticanus

Religious texts, also known as scripture or scriptures (from the Latin scriptura, meaning "writing") are texts which religious traditions consider to be central to their practice or beliefs. Religious texts may be used to provide meaning and purpose, evoke a deeper connection with the divine, convey religious truths, promote religious experience, foster communal identity, and guide individual and communal religious practice. Religious texts often communicate the practices or values of a religious traditions and can be looked to as a set of guiding principles which dictate physical, mental, spiritual, or historical elements considered important to a specific religion. The terms 'sacred' text and 'religious' text are not necessarily interchangeable in that some religious texts are believed to be sacred because of their nature as divinely or supernaturally revealed or inspired, whereas some religious texts are simply narratives pertaining to the general themes, practices, or important figures of the specific religion, and not necessarily considered sacred by itself. A core function of a religious text making it sacred is its ceremonial and liturgical role, particularly in relation to sacred time, the liturgical year, the divine efficacy and subsequent holy service; in a more general sense, its performance.

It is not possible to create an exhaustive list of religious texts, because there is no single definition of which texts are recognized as religious.

History of religious texts[edit]

One of the oldest known religious texts is the Kesh Temple Hymn of Ancient Sumer,[1][2] a set of inscribed clay tablets which scholars typically date around 2600 BCE.[3] The Epic of Gilgamesh from Sumer, although only considered by some scholars as a religious text, has origins as early as 2150-2000 BCE, and stands as one of the earliest literary works that includes various mythological figures and themes of interaction with the divine.[4] The Rig Veda of ancient Hinduism is estimated to have been composed between 1700–1100 BCE, which not only denotes it as one of the oldest known religious texts, but also one of the oldest written religious text which is still actively used in religious practice to this day, though no actual evidence of this text exists prior to the 13th century AD.

There are many possible dates given to the first writings which can be connected to Talmudic and Biblical traditions, the earliest of which is found in scribal documentation of the 8th century BCE,[5] followed by administrative documentation from temples of the 5th and 6th centuries BCE,[6] with another common date being the 2nd century BCE.[6] Although a significant text in the history of religious text because of its widespread use among religious denominations and its continued use throughout history, the texts of the Abrahamic traditions are a good example of the lack of certainty surrounding dates and definitions of religious texts.

High rates of mass production and distribution of religious texts did not begin until the invention of the printing press in 1440,[7] before which all religious texts were hand written copies, of which there were relatively limited quantities in circulation.

Sacred texts of various religions[edit]

The following is an in-exhaustive list of links to specific religious texts which may be used for further, more in-depth study.

Bronze Age[edit]

Ancient Egyptian religion
Pyramid texts from Teti I's pyramid.

Classical antiquity[edit]

The Cippus of Perugia, 3rd or 2nd century BCE
  • Mandaeanism
    • The Ginza Rba
    • Book of the Zodiac
    • Qolusta, Canonical Prayerbook
    • Book of John the Baptizer
    • Diwan Abatur, Purgatories
    • 1012 Questions
    • Coronation of Shislam Rba
    • Baptism of Hibil Ziwa
    • Haran Gawaita

Ancient China[edit]

Ethnic religions[edit]

Iranian[edit]

Zoroastrianism
Yasna 28.1 (Bodleian MS J2)
  • Primary religious texts, that is, the Avesta collection:
    • The Yasna, the primary liturgical collection, includes the Gathas.
    • The Visperad, a collection of supplements to the Yasna.
    • The Yashts, hymns in honor of the divinities.
    • The Vendidad, describes the various forms of evil spirits and ways to confound them.
    • shorter texts and prayers, the Yashts the five Nyaishes ("worship, praise"), the Sirozeh and the Afringans (blessings).
  • There are some 60 secondary religious texts, none of which are considered scripture. The most important of these are:
    • The Denkard (middle Persian, 'Acts of Religion'),
    • The Bundahishn, (middle Persian, 'Primordial Creation')
    • The Menog-i Khrad, (middle Persian, 'Spirit of Wisdom')
    • The Arda Viraf Namak (middle Persian, 'The Book of Arda Viraf')
    • The Sad-dar (modern Persian, 'Hundred Doors', or 'Hundred Chapters')
    • The Rivayats, 15th-18th century correspondence on religious issues
  • For general use by the laity:
    • The Zend (lit. commentaries), various commentaries on and translations of the Avesta.
    • The Khordeh Avesta, Zoroastrian prayer book for lay people from the Avesta.
Yârsân
Yazidi
  • The true core texts of the Yazidi religion that exist today are the hymns, known as qawls. Spurious examples of so-called "Yazidi religious texts" include the Yazidi Black Book and the Yazidi Book of Revelation, which were forged in the early 20th century
Druze

Indian[edit]

Hinduism[edit]

Śruti
The Bhagavad Gita is Lord Krishna's counsel to Arjuna on the battlefield of the Kurukshetra.
Smriti
In Purva Mimamsa
In Vedanta (Uttar Mimamsa)
In Yoga
In Samkhya
  • Samkhya Sutras of Kapila
In Nyaya
In Vaisheshika
  • Vaisheshika Sutras of Kanada
In Vaishnavism
  • Vaikhanasa Samhitas
  • Pancaratra Samhitas
  • Divyaprabandha
In Saktism
In Kashmir Saivism
In Pashupata Shaivism
  • Pashupata Sutras of Lakulish
  • Panchartha-bhashya of Kaundinya (a commentary on the Pashupata Sutras)
  • Ganakarika
  • Ratnatika of Bhasarvajna
In Shaiva Siddhanta
  • 28 Saiva Agamas
  • Tirumurai (canon of 12 works)
  • Meykandar Shastras (canon of 14 works)
In Gaudiya Vaishnavism
Krishna-karnamrita
In Lingayatism
In Kabir Panth
In Dadu Panth

Buddhism[edit]

Ancient style of scripture used for the Pāli Canon
Theravada Buddhism
East Asian Mahayana
The Chinese Diamond Sutra, the oldest known dated printed book in the world, printed in the 9th year of Xiantong Era of the Tang Dynasty, or 868 CE. British Library.
Tibetan Buddhism

Jainism[edit]

Svetambara
  • 11 Angas
    • Secondary
      • 12 Upangas, 4 Mula-sutras, 6 Cheda-sutras, 2 Culika-sutras, 10 Prakirnakas
Digambara
Nonsectarian/Nonspecific
  • Jina Vijaya
  • Tattvartha Sutra
  • GandhaHasti Mahabhashya (authoritative and oldest commentary on the Tattvartha Sutra)

Sikhism[edit]

Illuminated Guru Granth folio with Mul Mantar(basic religion mantra) with signature of Guru Gobind Singh.

Judaism[edit]

A Sefer Torah opened for liturgical use in a synagogue service
Rabbinic Judaism
See also: Rabbinic literature
Kabbalism
Hasidism
Karaite Judaism
Haymanot

Christianity[edit]

Christian Bible, 1407 handwritten copy

The Liturgical books. Many denominations each have their own Worship or Service Books within their Church. These books may also considered religious texts.

Christian Scientists
The Bible (left) and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (right) serve as the pastor of the Christian Science church.
Gnosticism
Jehovah's Witnesses
Latter Day Saint movement
Cover page of The Book of Mormon from an original 1830 edition, by Joseph Smith, Jr.
(Image from the U.S. Library of Congress Rare Book and Special Collections Division.)
Native American Church (Christian-leaning factions)
See below.
Rastafari movement
See below.
Seventh-day Adventists
Swedenborgianism
See below.
Unification Church
See below.

Islam[edit]

11th Century North African Qur'an in the British Museum

There are thousands of books written about the biography of Prophet Muhammad. Mentioning all of them are very difficult. So, some of the most authentic and famous Books on biography of Muhammad will mention.

    • Al-Sira Al-Nabawiyya.
    • The Making of the last prophet by Ibn Ishaq
    • The Life of Prophet Muhammad by Ibn Ishaq
    • Sira Manzuma.
    • al-Mawahib al-Ladunniya.
    • al-Zurqani 'ala al-Mawahib.
    • Sirah al-Halabiyya.
    • I`lam al-Nubuwwa.
    • Madarij al-Nubuwwa.
    • Shawahid al-Nubuwwa.
    • Nur al-Safir.
    • Sharh al-Mawahib al-laduniyya.
    • al-Durar fi ikhtisar al-maghazi was-siyar.
    • Ashraf al-wasa'il ila faham al-Shama'il.
    • Ghayat al-sul fi Khasa'is al-Rasul.
    • Ithbat al-Nubuwwa.
    • Nihaya al-Sul fi Khasa'is al-Rasul.
    • Al Khasais-ul-Kubra, al-Khasa'is al-Sughra and Shama'il al-Sharifa.
    • al-Durra al-Mudiyya.

Pre-Columbian Americas[edit]

New religious movements[edit]

  • The writings of Franklin Albert Jones a.k.a. Adi Da Love-Ananda Samraj
    • Aletheon
    • The Companions of the True Dawn Horse
    • The Dawn Horse Testament
    • Gnosticon
    • The Heart of the Adi Dam Revelation
    • Not-Two IS Peace
    • Pneumaton
    • Transcendental Realism
  • Caodaism
    • Kinh Thiên Đạo Và Thế Đạo (Prayers of the Heavenly and the Earthly Way)
    • Pháp Chánh Truyền (The Religious Constitution of Caodaism)
    • Tân Luật (The Canonical Codes)
    • Thánh Ngôn Hiệp Tuyển (Compilation of Divine Messages)[9]
  • Cheondoism
    • The Donghak Scripture
    • The Songs of Yongdam
    • The Sermons of Master Haeweol
    • The Sermons of Revered Teacher Euiam[10]
  • Konkokyo
    • Oshirase-Goto Obobe-Chō
    • Konko Daijin Oboegaki
    • Gorikai I
    • Gorikai II
    • Gorikai III[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kramer, Samuel (1942). "The Oldest Literary Catalogue: A Sumerian List of Literary Compositions Compiled about 2000 B.C.". Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research. 88: 10–19.
  2. ^ Sanders, Seth (2002). "Old Light on Moses' Shining Face". Vetus Testamentum. 52: 400–406 – via EbscoHost.
  3. ^ Enheduanna; Meador, Betty De Shong (2009-08-01). Princess, priestess, poet: the Sumerian temple hymns of Enheduanna. University of Texas Press. ISBN 9780292719323.
  4. ^ George, Andrew (2002-12-31). The Epic of Gilgamesh: The Babylonian Epic Poem and Other Texts in Akkadian and Sumerian. Penguin. ISBN 9780140449198.
  5. ^ "The Yahwist". Contradictions in the Bible. 2012-12-23. Retrieved 2016-12-06.
  6. ^ a b Jaffee, Martin S. (2001-04-19). Torah in the Mouth: Writing and Oral Tradition in Palestinian Judaism 200 BCE-400 CE. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780198032236.
  7. ^ "The History Guide". www.historyguide.org. Retrieved 2016-12-06.
  8. ^ Eastern Orthodox also generally divide Baruch and Letter of Jeremiah into two books instead of one. The enumeration of the Books of Ezra is different in many Orthodox Bibles, as it is in all others: see Wikipedia's article on the naming conventions of the Books of Esdras.
  9. ^ "Caodaism In A Nutshell".
  10. ^ chondogyo.or.kr Archived February 18, 2005, at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "Sacred Scripture (Kyoten) - KONKOKYO".

External links[edit]