Many religions and spiritual movements hold certain written texts (or series of spoken legends not traditionally written down) to be sacred. Often believing that their sacred texts (or scriptures) are wholly divine or partially inspired in origin, the faithful use titles like Word of God to denote the holy writings. Even non-believers often capitalize the names of sacred scriptures as a mark of respect or of tradition.
Although ancient civilizations have produced handmade texts for many millennia, the first printed scripture for wide distribution for the masses was The Diamond Sutra, a Buddhist scripture, printed in the year 868 AD.
Sacred texts of various religions:
- Judaism: The Hebrew Bible (Tanakh = Torah, Nevi'im, Ketuvim)
- Christianity: The Christian Bible
- Islam: The Qur'an
- Hinduism: Shruti (Vedas; also Aranyakas, Brahmanas, Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, Mahabharata)
- Buddhism: The Tipitaka, Pali canon and other Buddhist texts
- Zoroastrianism: The Zend-Avesta
- Taoism: The Tao-te-ching, also The I Ching
- Confucianism: The Analects of Confucius, also The I Ching
- Mandaeanism: The Ginza Rba
- Sikhism: The Guru Granth Sahib and The Dasam Granth Sahib
- Bahá'í Faith: The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, Kitáb-i-Íqán, and many other writings including ones from other faiths
- Thelema: The Holy Books of Thelema especially Liber Al vel Legis
- Various New Age religions may regard any of the following texts as inspired:
Attitudes to sacred texts differ. Some religions make written texts widely freely available, while others hold that sacred secrets must remain hidden from all but the loyal and the initiate. Most religions promulgate policies defining the limits of the sacred texts and controlling or forbidding changes and additions. Translations of texts may receive official blessing, but an original sacred language often has de facto, absolute or exclusive paramouncy. Some religions make texts available gratis or in subsidised form; others require payment and the strict observance of copyright.
References to scriptures profit from standardisation: the Guru Granth Sahib (of Sikhism) always appears with standardised page numbering while the Abrahamic religions and their offshoots appear to favour chapter and verse pointers.
- Sacred-texts .com