Talk:Religious text

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Suggesting Merge[edit]

I'm going to suggest here that we merge the content of Holy Writ and Holy Scripture into a subheading if we feel that it is in keeping with the topic of this page. Disagreements? Support? Kevin Smith 12:30, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

Let's go ahead and merge them, I support this. They are the same subject, rather than needlessly spread across several seperate independent articles. 17:22, 24 March 2007 (UTC)Joshua
Please note that the quality of my merge paragraph is the best I could bang out given my limited knowledge. If anyone would like to add or edit, or if anyone protests my merge and redirection, please note it here. Kevin Smith 01:20, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

The eddas and Norse mythology[edit]

I deleted the claim that the Edda was a sacred text of the Norse religion. The Norse religion didn't really have anything resembling the Bible and the Eddas are in any case written after Scandinavia became christian. In fact, they are written by christians. —Preceding unsigned comment added by MathHisSci (talkcontribs) 18:04, 6 July 2009 (UTC)

That is not generally true. The Eddas are held as sacred scripture by some of the Asatru and Odinist groups. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Zeit Totzuschlagen (talkcontribs) 15:18, 25 January 2011 (UTC)

Discussion of Canonical Status[edit]

Fellow editors, I wanted to bring to your attention why I feel this article is in serious need of revision and correction. There are a few titles/works that are listed under specific religions, when that religion does not regard the aforementioned work as canonical. A good example of this is how the article gives the sacred text of Jainism as Tattvartha Sutra, however no sect or denomination affords it canonical status, admittedly it is highly regarded and cherished. It's the same way the Roman Catholic Church highly regarded the works of Aristotle, but dare not give it canonical status, only the Bible was given that authority, yet the RCC all but crystalized aristotelianism. The Shvetambara canon consists of the 11 Angas (“Parts”; originally there were 12, but one, the Drishtivada, has been lost), 12 Upangas (subsidiary texts), 4 Mula-sutras (basic texts), 6 Cheda-sutras (concerned with discipline), 2 Culika-sutras (appendix texts), and 10 Prakirnakas (mixed, assorted texts). The Digambara give canonical status to two works, the Karmaprabhrita (“Chapters on Karman”), also called Shatkhandagama (“Scripture of Six Sections”), and the Kashayaprabhrita (“Chapters on the Kashayas”). Those are the only canonical works in Jainism, all else is commentative, or simply traditional. Next, I wanted to approach the issue of Lingayatism and the Lingayat or Virashaiva canon. I was the one who added the seperate section for Lingayatism, namely because they are non-Vedic and do not accept the authority of the Vedas, which in India, is by law and government, considered what binds and unites Hinduism. Secondly because the followers do not consider themselves Hindus. It is simply Hinduism's attempt to co-opt them in the fold, to persist that they are a denomination with Hinduism. I've contacted scholars on the issue and apparently no one knows what the Lingayat canon is, I added Basava Purana since the Encyclopedia Britannica calls it one of the sacred texts of the Lingayats. Vachanas, Mantra Gopya, Shoonya Sampadane, Shaivite Agamas. Those could and should be added. Another subject I want to approach is the canon of Mandaeanism. The article lists only the Ginza (right and left), however the Mandaean canon is quite extensive and includes, Asafar Malwasha/Book of the Zodiac, Qulasta, Book of John the Baptist, Diwan Abatur, 1012 Qestions/Alf Trisar Suialia, Coronation of Shislam Rba, Baptism of Hibil Ziwa, and a few others. Also the section on Buddhism only includes the Theravada canon while categorizing all Mahayana canon under the sentence "and other Buddhist texts". That's hardly fair treatment for the numerous denominations of Mahayana and Tantric Buddhism, all differing in canon, such as the Pure Land sutras for the Pure Land sects. That's similar to putting under Hinduism, listing just the Vedas and then "other Hindu texts." Too ambiguous I think. 09:11, 24 March 2007 (UTC)Joshua

We need you! Please register a User name so we can talk to you. Please come to WikiProject religious texts and be a member. Alastair Haines 14:58, 6 October 2007 (UTC)
Thanks. Most wikipedia editors don't seem to like me, though. I appreciate your vote of confidence. 22:46, 7 October 2007 (UTC) Joshua
I've actually added quite a few non-canon texts to this article, despite what I've said above. I think it's fair to distinguish between canon and non-canon though in the article, what do you think? Or should the article be speificially about canonical texts only? 22:48, 7 October 2007 (UTC) Joshua
The article cannot be about exclusively canonical texts, imo ,for two reasons. Firstly, within any tradition canonicity usually only arises because there is already a dispute about what is inspired, authoritative, authentic, etc. Neutrality requires we report the wider canon, while noting what is disputed. Secondly, canonicity is not mutually recognized across traditions. Muslim's recognize Torah, Psalms and Gospels, at least in theory. Bahai specifically recognizes an even wider set of books. But those kinds of views are pretty exceptional.
I desire to document Egyptian and Babylonian religious texts, which do not as yet seem to be listed. These are notable for their antiquity and comparison to Abrahamic religious texts. For me, a religious text is defined by 1. content = religious (not sure how to actually define that though) 2. text = script, written, "permanent" medium of transmission, as such amenable to objective textual criticism, paelography, diachronic linguistics, hermenuetics, etc., (hence not including reconstructed oral traditions, from artifacts, graphics, text or modern oral remnants.)
I've not read carefully enough to see if the new project defines its scope as I would. I'd be surprised if it was more exclusive. Alastair Haines 00:33, 8 October 2007 (UTC)
You said above you weren't sure how to define religious content in a document. It's easy for people to confuse religion and philosophy with each other, the two are sometimes mutual, sometimes not. I will briefly outline the different between the two and how to identify religious content in any document. Let us take christianity as a prime example. For those who observe and follow the ceremonies of Christianity, then it is a religion. For those who observe and follow the morality of Christianity, then it is a philosophy of life. For most christians, christianity is both a religion and philosophy and serves a dual purpose. Philosophy is about empirical knowledge, metaphysics, cosmology, and above all, ethics. 04:51, 8 October 2007 (UTC) Joshua
Thank you Joshua, that sounds fair. It's a very important idea that religion and philosophy (and science) are not mutually exclusive. In particular, religion informs ethics, it is not identitical with it. The Code of Hamurabi is ethics with a little underlying religion. Plato argued from theology in discussions of matters other than ethics. Religion is not such an easy thing to define really. People probably share similar intuitions about what counts as religion, while having greater or lesser degrees of what they include or exclude from it. Some may have ad hoc definitions that suit their case depending on what particular point they want to make. That's something we might have to clarify eventually. Alastair Haines 13:33, 8 October 2007 (UTC)

I agree that the concept of canonicity is pretty confused. Eg the semi-official view of the Eastern Orthodox Church is that the Apocrypha are part of the scriptures but not canonical. On the other hand, the Tibetan Tenjur is usually described by Western scholars as canonical, though it's not scripture, & what is regularly described by Western scholars as the Chinese Buddhist canon mixes scriptures & non-scriptural writings. Peter jackson (talk) 12:19, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

I Ching[edit]

I removed the I Ching as a scripture of the religion Taoism/Daoism as it is not a scripture or text of that religious movement. It does not appear in any previous or current version of the Taost canon, it's commentaries are that of Confucians and Neo-Confucians, part of the text itself is attributed to Confucius. Thus I have added Confucianism, which according to the United Nations, is a religion.


Is there somewhere a chronological list of religious texts, and would it be encyclopaedic to have one on WP? Hakluyt bean 19:56, 2 July 2007 (UTC)

The date or origin for most scriptures is conjectural. The Bible for example, is a compilation of over 50 books written over a long period of time, and therefore would not fit on such a chronology.
Good point about biblical books being written over a long period, so biblical books need separate entries in some cases.
Most written documents can be dated within a couple of hundred years, even in the worst cases where our knowledge is backed by very little evidence. Egyptian and Babylonian texts can be dated quite well because we have a lot of evidence. During the 19th century up to the late 20th century many writers have speculated various alternative datings for major religions, especially ones popular in the West. I'm not aware of this being so popular any more, though. It is true, however, that there are books of the Hebrew scriptures that still do have much debated dates, but the Septuagint provides an upper limit, and the events they record provide a lower limit in many cases.
The 27 books of the New Testament are known to have been written after 30 AD (for obvious reasons), some are known to have been written before the deaths of their authors in the 60s. The latest date of the latest book in the most sceptical opinions is about 100 AD. As such, the New Testament fits easily into almost any chronology.
The Qur'an can be dated easily, and so can many other books. So YES to your question Hakluyt. Yes it is encyclopedic, we need to do it carefully. If we source everything, and if we go for centuries rather than years or decades, we can give a good impression of when books were written.
I'll work on this as I have time. I like the idea of a "synoptic chart" that shows mesopotamian, asian and meso-american texts side by side in columns, with time as a vertical axis (or vice versa). Or please, anyone, beat me to it! Alastair Haines 15:25, 6 October 2007 (UTC)

It's not correct to say "The latest date of the latest book in the most sceptical opinions is about 100 AD." In fact most scholars place 2 Peter after 100 AD, often about 130. And that's not the most sceptical scholars. Peter jackson (talk) 12:16, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

reg. Judaism & Hindu section[edit]

Should the Kaballah be incorporated in that section? In the Hindu section I beleive the Tantras were listed though.

These seems to be more of sects or cults within these mainstream relgion. Never the less they do have their main texts.


Oct 12, 2007 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:22, 13 October 2007 (UTC)

I'm afraid I don't know. I'm not even sure that Kabbalah has a canon per say. Many would point to the Zohar, but to be intellectually honest, the Zohar is but one of numerous, numerous kabbalic texts coming from both jewish and non-jewish sources. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:36, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

Spelling Error[edit]

Changed incorrect spelling: "Dao de jing" to correct spelling: "Tao Te Ching". —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:25, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

It's not an "error". There are 2 main systems of transcribing Chinese. I understand that most schoalrs have recently adopted the 1 where Dao de jing is "correct", though the other is probably more familiar to most readers. Peter jackson (talk) 12:14, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

Posts moved below Table of Contents[edit]

Posts moved below Table of Contents--Editor2020 (talk) 02:44, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

I rewrote the intro somewhat to so that it starts by discussing religious texts in general. Since the phrase "Word of God" as I understand it is gnenerally associated with monotheism, I felt that should be clearer and not the first bit of info in the intro. If their are actually any polytheistic or other non-monotheistic religions that use the phrase "word of god" when discussing their texts then something about that could be added. --Cab88 17:13, 17 June 2006 (UTC)

Under Shinto it says this:

Shinto The Kojiki The Nihon Shoki or Nihingi

Are you guys sure it's the "Nihingi?" In the Wikipedia article about Nihon Shoki it says that it's also called the "Nihongi." I'm at a public library as we speak and just checked out a book entitled Nihongi Chronicles of Japan fromt he Earliest Times to A.D 697.

It seems to have been a typo, I've changed it. QVanillaQ 13:58, 11 February 2007 (UTC)

I felt that this article might use some clean up on neutrality. I feel like it randomly talks about certain religious texts at the beginning, and that it places a bias on monotheistic religions in the intro. Finn zee Fox 04:47, 10 February 2007 (UTC)

I tend to agree, and I'm going to experiment by moving the "Word of God" comment into the "views" subheading. If there are any disagreements feel free to revert or edit as needed as I'm not particularly married to this change. Kevin Smith 12:23, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

I don't mean to sound rude, but I don't understand the discussion here, what's the problem? Put it in laymen's terms please. 09:28, 24 March 2007 (UTC)Joshua

Re-thinking religious "texts"[edit]

My sense is that emphasizing written texts is inherently prejudicial, meaning that the effort cannot be done objectively.

Consider the problem this way.

In the Jewish tradition, the TANANKH is called the written law, and the Talmud is called the oral law. Both, however, are now written. Sometime shortly after the beginnings of Christianity, according to tradition, the Jewish canon is fixed. In logical terms, however, first one needs to have an idea of canon (sending scholars down the path of asking the question about what "canon" means in either literal or practical terms).

The Christian tradition seems to accept the idea of canon from the Jewish tradition (though it identified different writings, and had different rules). So, it looks like we can talk about fixed texts and meanings (so far!).

The Muslim tradition works fine here too, since in concept it too has an idea of a fixed, meaningful text. Any comparison will get a bit slippery at points (all three mean SOMETHING when they point to a written text, but they mean different things).

The problem comes when we assert that we are comparing like things when we discuss religious traditions that do not make "texts" a primary component of their ways of thinking about themselves.

Max Mueller, in the 19th century, was one of the driving forces for creating the texts that we now regard as standard for other religions in the world. My sense is that his efforts are pretty much uniformly regarded by scholars of religion to have been crucially important--but also that he brings forward concepts that are foreign to many of these religions (ideas such as "religious text").

If I could offer a suggestion, it would be this. The final article would need to divide the discussion of religious text into two parts. One would discuss those religious traditions that assert the importance of "religious texts." I am thinking here mainly of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam--but that question would be left open to consideration. The other would discuss texts of other religions, but would need to be careful to show in what ways "text" misconstrues or wrongly emphasizes elements of that religion.

Dr. Davidson (talk) 14:20, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

I've reformated your remarks to make them readable in the usual WP display system.
To illustrate the confusion of terminology, here are 2 quotations from reputable scholarly authorities on Buddhism:
"...scriptures and other canonical texts": Macmillan Encyclopedia of Buddhism (2004, vol 1), p142
"... scriptures fall into three categories: canonical, commentarial and pseudo-canonical." Bechert & Gombrich, World of Buddhism, Thames & Hudson, London, 1984, p79
Thus scholars use the same terms in precisely opposite senses.
I'm not sure how you're thinking of this distinction between religions that emphasize texts & those that don't. Obviously, tribal religions may not have anything describable as texts, but apart from that it's not clear what the basis for the distinction might be. It's not obvious to me, without specialist academic knowledge, that the attitudes of Buddhists to Buddhavacana & Hindus to the Veda are more different from those of Catholics & Protestants to the Bible & Muslims to the Koran than those attitudes are different from each other. Peter jackson (talk) 16:08, 17 March 2008 (UTC)


Is this article including texts of groups that are not globally recognized as religions? The particular to which I refer is Scientology, which German courts have ruled is not a religion. (cite and other precedents to follow; I'm typing from an iPhone) TravellerDMT-07 (talk) 21:19, 26 September 2008 (UTC)

Book of Mormon[edit]

Why is a link to the Adamic Language next to the Book of Mormon? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:30, 1 October 2008 (UTC)

Be WP:Bold change it. Lihaas (talk) 02:05, 3 October 2008 (UTC)

Explanatory text at top, list at bottom.[edit]

I think it would be better to put all of the explanatory sections at the top of the article, followed by the list at the bottom. Anyone disagree with that?--Editor2020 (talk) 23:52, 29 October 2008 (UTC)

Hinduism - Yoga Vasishtha[edit]

The Yoga Vasistha is missing here. Where should it be placed? Wiki-uk (talk) 04:35, 2 July 2009 (UTC)

Creativity (religion)[edit]

I feel that the titles of the religious texts of The Creativity Movement should be added to this page's list of religious texts. That is the purpose of this discussion. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Zeit Totzuschlagen (talkcontribs) 15:16, 25 January 2011 (UTC)

Minor, self-published works don't belong here, there are thousands, probably hundreds of thousands of these all with equal claim. Dougweller (talk) 15:59, 25 January 2011 (UTC)

The Creativity religion has almost a million adherents worldwide. The books are well-known within some circles, as well as the fact that the religion was founded by the inventor of the electric can-opener, one time Florida State Legislator and founder of Silver Springs, Nevada. There are a dozen of the religious texts, but I'll take into consideration what you are saying, as I don't see the Satanic Bible of Satanism on the list. Thank you for your time. Zeit Totzuschlagen (talk) 17:31, 25 January 2011 (UTC)

On a second note, I do see Anton Lavey's Satanism so that means I have to redo the edit that I made. Zeit Totzuschlagen (talk) 17:32, 25 January 2011 (UTC)

I'd love to see a third party source for that million adherents comment. Beach drifter (talk) 18:00, 25 January 2011 (UTC)

since we are a young religion, is no reason to ban our mentioning us in the list of christian religions.Freepressinc (talk) 15:02, 24 November 2013 (UTC)


I came here looking for a list of which scriptures are considered sacred even in translation. I know that the Christian Bible is, and the Jewish, Islamic, and Hindu scriptures are not. What about the other major religions: Buddhism, Sikhism, Mormonism, Zoroastrianism, Jainism, etc. Bostoner (talk) 02:10, 11 April 2011 (UTC)

I agree to your point, it is important for this article to consider distinguishing that. Abdusalambaryun (talk) 02:15, 10 June 2014 (UTC)

Alert: lists of publications in Articles for deletion[edit]

Some lists of books have been added to Wikipedia:Articles for deletion. You can find the discussions here. RockMagnetist (talk) 23:02, 5 October 2011 (UTC)

Jehovah's Witnesses[edit]

Do any of the Watchtower Society's Publications also count as religious texts for the Jehovah's Witnesses? (talk) 10:04, 22 April 2014 (UTC)

Islam section needs to be expanded[edit]

Sunnis, Shiites and Ibadis all accept different collections of hadiths and this article needs to show that. (talk) 10:11, 22 April 2014 (UTC)

    • May be it is better to let the Hadith as all accept the source of Muhammad, but they differ in the books they follow. Therefore, I think you can mention the reference books of Hadith and then indicate for each book their followers. Abdusalambaryun (talk) 02:20, 10 June 2014 (UTC)

Islam only Considers Four Holy Books[edit]

It is important under the Islam section to show what it considers of the Religious texts (our subject). Furthermore, we need to make sure, that other religions sections note what they consider of the religious texts (subject). For example, we should show, the Christianity considers the Tawra of Mousa, but Judaism does not consider the Bible. Therefore, it will be important to show what these religions consider other books as coming from the same God. Abdusalambaryun (talk) 09:12, 14 June 2014 (UTC)

Swedenborgianism and Unification Church[edit]

Why do I have to go to the end of the article to read about the religious texts of Swedenborgianism and the Unification Church? Both of these are just as Christian as the Latter Day Saints. (talk) 10:15, 22 April 2014 (UTC)

Religious Text Authors[edit]

I think it is important to mention in this Article the authors of such texts. Overall, we have many authors on books/texts so we need to make the correct identity to such book. For example, the bible has some versions with different authors, The Quran has one author, etc. Abdusalambaryun (talk) 08:19, 18 June 2014 (UTC)

The Section Views is unknown and needs references[edit]

In my opinion, the section is about the editor views, Views are with no references, so the views are for editors, but that is not best way. I recommend to delete the section or to provide references. (talk) 22:20, 18 June 2014 (UTC)

Table of contents moved to the right[edit]

Was this a good idea? (talk) 07:21, 4 February 2015 (UTC)

In my opinion the Horizontal TOC is harder to read and navigate. Editor2020, Talk 19:45, 9 February 2015 (UTC)

Should the Kesh Temple Hymn replace the Pyramid Texts in being named as the oldest religious text?[edit]

The oldest copy of the Kesh Temple Hymn is typically dated to around 2600 BCE, a century or two earlier than the Pyramid Texts. [1] Acleverpseudonym (talk) 23:44, 19 November 2015 (UTC)

I'm not aware of any controversy over the dating of the Kesh Temple Hymn and it certainly qualifies as a religious text so I made the edit and cited it. Acleverpseudonym (talk) 11:13, 20 November 2015 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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  1. ^ R.D. Biggs, An Archaic Sumerian Version of the Kesh Temple Hymn from Tell Abū Salābīkh, Zeitschrift für Assyriologie und vorderasiatische Archäologie 01/1971, pp193-207