Wikipedia

Religious text

Religious texts are texts related to a religious tradition. They differ from literary texts by being a compilation or discussion of beliefs, mythologies, ritual practices, commandments or laws, ethical conduct, spiritual aspirations, and for creating or fostering a religious community.[1][2][3] The relative authority of religious texts develops over time and is derived from the ratification, enforcement, and its use across generations. Some religious texts are accepted or categorized as canonical, some non-canonical, and others extracanonical, semi-canonical, deutero-canonical, pre-canonical or post-canonical.[4]

A scripture is a subset of religious texts considered to be "especially authoritative",[5][6] revered and "holy writ",[7] "sacred, canonical", or of "supreme authority, special status" to a religious community.[8][9] The terms sacred text and religious text are not necessarily interchangeable in that some religious texts are believed to be sacred because of the belief in some theistic religions such as the Abrahamic religions that the text is divinely or supernaturally revealed or divinely inspired, or in non-theistic religions such as some Indian religions they are considered to be the central tenets of their eternal Dharma. Many religious texts, in contrast, are simply narratives or discussions pertaining to the general themes, interpretations, practices, or important figures of the specific religion. In some religions (Islam), the scripture of supreme authority is well established (Quran). In others (Christianity), the canonical texts include a particular text (Bible) but is "an unsettled question", according to Eugene Nida. In yet others (Hinduism, Buddhism), there "has never been a definitive canon".[10][11] While the term scripture is derived from the Latin scriptura, meaning "writing", most sacred scriptures of the world's major religions were originally a part of their oral tradition, and were "passed down through memorization from generation to generation until they were finally committed to writing", according to the Encyclopaedia Britannica.[7][12][13]

Religious texts also serve a 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.[citation needed]

Etymology and nomenclature [ edit ]

According to Peter Beal, the term scripture – derived from "scriptura" (Latin) – meant "writings [manuscripts] in general" prior to the medieval era, then became "reserved to denote the texts of the Old and New Testaments of the Bible".[14] Beyond Christianity, according to the Oxford World Encyclopedia, the term "scripture" has referred to a text accepted to contain the "sacred writings of a religion",[15] while The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions states it refers to a text "having [religious] authority and often collected into an accepted canon".[16] In modern times, this equation of the written word with religious texts is particular to the English language, and is not retained in most other languages, which usually add an adjective like "sacred" to denote religious texts.

Some religious texts are categorized as canonical, some non-canonical, and others extracanonical, semi-canonical, deutero-canonical, pre-canonical or post-canonical.[4] The term "canon" is derived from the Greek word "kανών", "a cane used as a measuring instrument". It connotes the sense of "measure, standard, norm, rule". In the modern usage, a religious canon refers to a "catalogue of sacred scriptures" that is broadly accepted to "contain and agree with the rule or canon of a particular faith", states Juan Widow.[17] The related terms such as "non-canonical", "extracanonical", "deuterocanonical" and others presume and are derived from "canon". These derived terms differentiate a corpus of religious texts from the "canonical" literature. At its root, this differentiation reflects the sects and conflicts that developed and branched off over time, the competitive "acceptance" of a common minimum over time and the "rejection" of interpretations, beliefs, rules or practices by one group of another related socio-religious group.[18] The earliest reference to the term "canon" in the context of "a collection of sacred Scripture" is traceable to the 4th-century CE. The early references, such as the Synod of Laodicea, mention both the terms "canonical" and "non-canonical" in the context of religious texts.[19]

History of religious texts [ edit ]

One of the oldest known religious texts is the Kesh Temple Hymn of ancient Sumer,[20][21] a set of inscribed clay tablets which scholars typically date around 2600 BCE.[22] The Epic of Gilgamesh from Sumer, although only considered by some scholars as a religious text, has origins as early as 2150 BCE,[23] and stands as one of the earliest literary works that includes various mythological figures and themes of interaction with the divine.[24] The ‘’Rig Veda’’ – a scripture of Hinduism – is dated to between 1500–1200 BCE. It is one of the oldest known complete religious texts that has survived into the modern age.[25]

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,[26] followed by administrative documentation from temples of the 5th and 6th centuries BCE,[27] with another common date being the 2nd century BCE.[27] 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,[28] 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 a non-exhaustive list of links to specific religious texts which may be used for further, more in-depth study.

Bronze Age [ edit ]

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

Classical antiquity [ edit ]

The Cippus of Perugia, 3rd or 2nd century BCE

East Asian religions [ edit ]

Confucianism [ edit ]

Taoism [ edit ]

Shinto [ edit ]

Iranian religions [ edit ]

Yasna 28.1 (Bodleian MS J2)
Zoroastrianism
  • 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.
Yarsanism
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 religions [ edit ]

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

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

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)
  • Four Anuyogas (they call them, the four vedas of jainism)

Sikhism [ edit ]

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

Secondary disputed scripture

Satpanth [ edit ]

  • Quran (they call it Atharva Veda)
  • Ginans (the scriptures which contains the inner knowledge of Quran and treated by them as Puranas and Ithsas were treated by Hindus)
  • Dua (prayers)

Abrahamic religions [ edit ]

Baháʼí Faith [ edit ]

Christianity [ edit ]

Christian Bible, 1407 handwritten copy
The Bible [ edit ]

The contents of Christian Bibles differ by denomination.

  • The Church of the East includes most of the deuterocanonical books of the Old Testament which are found in the Peshitta (The Syriac Version of the Bible). The New Testament in modern versions contains the 5 disputed books (2 Peter, 2 John, 3 John, Jude, and Revelation) that were originally excluded.
  • Some Syrian Churches, regardless of whether they are Eastern Catholic, Nestorian, Oriental or Eastern Orthodox, accept the Letter of Baruch as scripture.
Latter Day Saint movement [ edit ]
1841 First European (London) edition of the Book of Mormon, at the Springs Preserve museum, Las Vegas, Nevada.
Additional and alternate scriptures [ edit ]

Some Christian denominations have additional or alternate holy scriptures, some with authoritativeness similar to the Old Testament and New Testament.

  • The Unification Church includes the Divine Principle in its holy scriptures.
  • Gnostic Christianity rejected the narrative in Pauline Christianity that the arrival of Jesus had to do with the forgiveness of sins, and instead were concerned with illusion and enlightenment. Gnostic texts include Gnostic gospels about the life of Jesus, books attributed to various apostles, apocalyptic writings, and philosophical works. Though there is some overlap with some New Testament works, the rest were eventually considered heretical by Christian orthodoxy. Gnostics generally did not include the Old Testament as canon. They believed in two gods, one of which was Yahweh (generally considered evil), the author of the Hebrew Bible and god of the Jews, separate from a Supreme God who sent Jesus.
Liturgical books [ edit ]

Liturgical books are used to guide or script worship, and many are specific to a denomination.

Doctrines and laws [ edit ]
The Bible (left) and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (right) serve as the pastor of the Christian Science church.

Various Christian denominations have texts which define the doctrines of the group or set out laws which are considered binding. The groups consider these to range in permanence from unquestionable interpretations of divine revelations to human decisions made for convenience or elucidation which are subject to reconsideration.

Islam [ edit ]

11th Century North African Qur'an in the British Museum
  • The Quran (also referred to as Kuran, Koran, Qur’ān, Coran or al-Qur’ān) – Four books considered to be revealed and mentioned by name in the Quran are the Quran (revealed to Muhammad), the Tawrat (revealed to Musa), the Zabur (revealed to Dawud) and the Injil (revealed to Isa)
Sunni Islam [ edit ]
  • Other Hadith books
Shia Islam [ edit ]
  • Books on biography of Prophet Muhammad. There are thousands of biographies written, though unlike the Hadith collections, they are usually not accepted as canonical religious texts. Some of the more authentic and famous of them are:
  • 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.
Alawites [ edit ]
Mevlevi Order [ edit ]
Alevism [ edit ]

Judaism [ edit ]

A Sefer Torah opened for liturgical use in a synagogue service
Rabbinic Judaism [ edit ]
Hasidic Judaism [ edit ]

Early texts:

Foundational texts of various Hasidic sects:

Haymanot [ edit ]
Kabbalism [ edit ]
Non-rabbinic Judaism [ edit ]
Karaite Judaism [ edit ]
  • The Tanakh
Jewish Science [ edit ]
  • The Tanakh
  • Jewish Science: Divine Healing in Judaism

Samaritanism [ edit ]

Pre-Columbian Americas [ edit ]

Ethnic religions [ 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)[35]
  • Cheondoism
    • The Donghak Scripture
    • The Songs of Yongdam
    • The Sermons of Master Haeweol
    • The Sermons of Revered Teacher Euiam[36]
  • Konkokyo
    • Oshirase-Goto Obobe-Chō
    • Konko Daijin Oboegaki
    • Gorikai I
    • Gorikai II
    • Gorikai III[37]
  • Meivazhi
    • The four vedas of Meivazhi
      • Āti mey utaya pūrana veētāntam
      • Āntavarkal mānmiyam
      • Eman pātar atipatu tiru meyññanak koral
      • Eman pātar atipatu kotāyūtak kūr

References [ edit ]

  1. ^ Charles Elster (2003). "Authority, Performance, and Interpretation in Religious Reading: Critical Issues of Intercultural Communication and Multiple Literacies". Journal of Literacy Research. 35 (1): 667–670., Quote: "religious texts serve two important regulatory functions: on the group level, they regulate liturgical ritual and systems of law; at the individual level, they (seek to) regulate ethical conduct and direct spiritual aspirations."
  2. ^ Eugene Nida (1994). "The Sociolinguistics of Translating Canonical Religious Texts". TTR: Traduction, Terminologie, Rédaction. Érudit: Université de Montréal. 7 (1): 195–197., Quote: "The phrase "religious texts" may be understood in two quite different senses: (1) texts that discuss historical or present-day religious beliefs and practices of a believing community and (2) texts that are crucial in giving rise to a believing community."
  3. ^ Ricoeur, Paul (1974). "Philosophy and Religious Language". The Journal of Religion. University of Chicago Press. 54 (1): 71–85. doi:10.1086/486374.
  4. ^ a b Lee Martin McDonald; James H. Charlesworth (5 April 2012). 'Noncanonical' Religious Texts in Early Judaism and Early Christianity. A&C Black. pp. 1–5, 18–19, 24–25, 32–34. ISBN 978-0-567-12419-7.
  5. ^ Charles Elster (2003). "Authority, Performance, and Interpretation in Religious Reading: Critical Issues of Intercultural Communication and Multiple Literacies". Journal of Literacy Research. 35 (1): 669–670.
  6. ^ John Goldingay (2004). Models for Scripture. Clements Publishing Group. pp. 183–190. ISBN 978-1-894667-41-8.
  7. ^ a b The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica (2009). Scripture. Encyclopaedia Britannica.
  8. ^ Wilfred Cantwell Smith (1994). What is Scripture?: A Comparative Approach. Fortress Press. pp. 12–14. ISBN 978-1-4514-2015-9.
  9. ^ William A. Graham (1993). Beyond the Written Word: Oral Aspects of Scripture in the History of Religion. Cambridge University Press. pp. 44–46. ISBN 978-0-521-44820-8.
  10. ^ Eugene Nida (1994). "The Sociolinguistics of Translating Canonical Religious Texts". 7 (1): 194–195. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  11. ^ Thomas B. Coburn (1984). ""Scripture" in India: Towards a Typology of the Word in Hindu Life". Journal of the American Academy of Religion. Oxford University Press. 52 (3): 435–459. doi:10.1093/jaarel/52.3.435. JSTOR 1464202.
  12. ^ William A. Graham (1993). Beyond the Written Word: Oral Aspects of Scripture in the History of Religion. Cambridge University Press. pp. ix, 5–9. ISBN 978-0-521-44820-8.
  13. ^ Carroll Stuhlmueller (1958). "The Influence of Oral Tradition Upon Exegesis and the Senses of Scripture". The Catholic Biblical Quarterly. 20 (3): 299–302. JSTOR 43710550.
  14. ^ Peter Beal (2008). A Dictionary of English Manuscript Terminology: 1450 to 2000. Oxford University Press. p. 367. ISBN 978-0-19-926544-2.
  15. ^ "Scriptures". The World Encyclopedia. Oxford University Press. 2004. ISBN 978-0-19-954609-1.
  16. ^ John Bowker (2000). "Scripture". The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-280094-7.
  17. ^ Juan Carlos Ossandón Widow (2018). The Origins of the Canon of the Hebrew Bible. BRILL Academic. pp. 22–27. ISBN 978-90-04-38161-2.
  18. ^ Gerbern Oegema (2012). Lee Martin McDonald and James H. Charlesworth (ed.). 'Noncanonical' Religious Texts in Early Judaism and Early Christianity. A&C Black. pp. 18–23 with footnotes. ISBN 978-0-567-12419-7.
  19. ^ Edmon L. Gallagher; John D. Meade (2017). The Biblical Canon Lists from Early Christianity: Texts and Analysis. Oxford University Press. pp. xii–xiii. ISBN 978-0-19-879249-9.
  20. ^ 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 (88): 10–19. doi:10.2307/1355474. JSTOR 1355474.
  21. ^ Sanders, Seth (2002). "Old Light on Moses' Shining Face". Vetus Testamentum. 52 (3): 400–406. doi:10.1163/156853302760197520.
  22. ^ Enheduanna; Meador, Betty De Shong (2009-08-01). Princess, priestess, poet: the Sumerian temple hymns of Enheduanna. University of Texas Press. ISBN 9780292719323.
  23. ^ Stephanie Dalley (2000). Myths from Mesopotamia: Creation, The Flood, Gilgamesh, and Others. Oxford University Press. pp. 41–45. ISBN 978-0-19-953836-2.
  24. ^ George, Andrew (2002-12-31). The Epic of Gilgamesh: The Babylonian Epic Poem and Other Texts in Akkadian and Sumerian. Penguin. ISBN 9780140449198.
  25. ^ Sagarika Dutt (2006). India in a Globalized World. Manchester University Press. p. 36. ISBN 978-1-84779-607-3
  26. ^ "The Yahwist". Contradictions in the Bible. 2012-12-23. Retrieved 2016-12-06.
  27. ^ 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.
  28. ^ "The History Guide". www.historyguide.org. Retrieved 2016-12-06.
  29. ^ 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.
  30. ^ Angell, Stephen W (2015), "Renegade Oxonian: Samuel Fisher's Importance in Formulating a Quaker Understanding of Scripture", in Angell, Stephen W; Dandelion, Pink (eds.), Early Quakers and Their Theological Thought 1647–1723, Cambridge University Press, pp. 137–154, doi:10.1017/cbo9781107279575.010, ISBN 9781107279575
  31. ^ Salvation Army International Theological Council (2010). Handbook of Doctrine. London: Salvation Books. ISBN 978-0-85412-822-8.
  32. ^ "Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (Roman Catholic Church) – Britannica Online Encyclopedia". Britannica.com. Retrieved 2013-03-07.
  33. ^ "Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith". Ewtn.com. Retrieved 2013-03-07.
  34. ^ Doctrine of the Methodist Church, accessed 25 may 2018
  35. ^ "Caodaism In A Nutshell".
  36. ^ "chondogyo.or.kr". Archived from the original on February 18, 2005.
  37. ^ "Sacred Scripture (Kyoten) - KONKOKYO".

External links [ edit ]

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