Sacred Texts in World Religions
Some sacred texts form the cornerstone of a religion, instilling law, character and spirituality in its people; some are narratives of historical figures in the faith. A text might be viewed as the unchanging “Word of God;” other texts are revised and expanded by later generations. Texts can be literal, or metaphorical, or both. This guide shows you how to find online versions, commentary and historical context of scriptures for Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism.
The Buddhist canon consists of the Sutras: the words and teachings of the Buddha. There are also a ... read more »
Christianity combines the Jewish Old Testament with the New Testament to form the Christian Bible, ... read more »
The Vedas, or “Books of Knowledge,” are the foremost sacred texts in Hinduism. These ... read more »
As the third of the Abrahamic religions, Muslims respect the Old and New Testaments, and consider Jews and Christians to be “People of the Book.” But the basis of Islam is the Quran, divinely revealed to Muhammad over a period of 22 years, beginning in 610 CE.
- The Quran is considered the word of God, and as a result, many people feel that the only way to experience the text in its full form is to read it in the original Arabic. Of course, if this isn’t a viable option, there are plenty of interpretations available in other languages.
- The Quran and the Hadith are the two major texts of Islam. The Hadith, of lesser importance than the Quran, means “narrative” or “report,” and collects the sayings and deeds of Muhammad and his followers.
To learn about Muslim texts …
offers one of the simplest introductions to the Islamic holy texts that you’ll find, with an overview of the faith’s two central texts, the Quran and the Hadith. Use the links provided for more detailed explanations.
, a respected Egyptian newspaper, contains this insightful article about the Quran. The selection is long and it covers a number of issues, such as reading the Quran in a language other than Arabic when it is supposed to be read in Arabic, and what a reader should keep in mind when going through the Quran.
To read Islamic holy texts …
's online Quran tool is a truly remarkable resource for anyone interested in the Quran. Click on the “Launch Quran Explorer button” to activate this helpful applet, which lets you jump to any point in the Quran and display the passage of your choice. Choose from a number of different translations to show alongside the original Arabic, and listen to one of five beautiful recitations. The applet allows you to repeat a passage recitation multiple times, which makes this a valuable Quran memorization tool.
The Islamic Texts Society
publishes books about all aspects of Islam, available for purchase on the site. Here you’ll find holy texts translated into English and works from theologians and historians past and present. The Society is a British educational charity that seeks to “promote a greater understanding of Islam among both Muslims and non-Muslims, catering for laypersons as well as academics in the field of Islamic studies.”
Judaism is the oldest of the Abrahamic religions, and its primary sacred text is the Tanach, or the ... read more »
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