Religious text

The Greek Old Testament: A page from Codex Vaticanus

Religious texts, including scripture, are texts which various religions consider to be of central importance to their religious tradition.

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Liturgical year

The liturgical year of some western churches, indicating the liturgical colours.
The liturgical seasons of East Syriac Catholic churches.
The month of October from a liturgical calendar for Abbotsbury Abbey. 13th-century manuscript (British Library, Cotton MS Cleopatra B IX, folio 59r).
Lutheran church year
Roman Rite liturgical year
A white coloured parament hangs from the pulpit, indicating that the current liturgical season is Christmastide. The fact that the Christ Candle in the centre of the Advent wreath is lit also indicates that Christmas has arrived.

The liturgical year, also known as the church year or Christian year, as well as the kalendar, consists of the cycle of liturgical seasons in Christian churches that determines when feast days, including celebrations of saints, are to be observed, and which portions of Scripture are to be read either in an annual cycle or in a cycle of several years.


Dedicated or set apart for the service or worship of a deity; is considered worthy of spiritual respect or devotion; or inspires awe or reverence among believers.

Kobayashi Eitaku painting showing the god Izanagi (right) and Izanami, a goddess of creation and death in Japanese mythology.

Hierology (Greek: ιερος, hieros, 'sacred or 'holy', + -logy) is the study of sacred literature or lore.

Oral tradition

Form of human communication wherein knowledge, art, ideas and cultural material is received, preserved, and transmitted orally from one generation to another.

A traditional Kyrgyz manaschi performing part of the Epic of Manas at a yurt camp in Karakol
The legendary Finnish storyteller Väinämöinen with his kantele
Filip Višnjić (1767–1834), Serbian blind guslar

Religions such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Catholicism, and Jainism, for example, have used an oral tradition, in parallel to a writing system, to transmit their canonical scriptures, rituals, hymns and mythologies from one generation to the next.


Ancient Indian collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns (sūktas).

The four Vedas
Rigveda (padapatha) manuscript in Devanagari, early 19th century. After a scribal benediction ('), the first line has the first pada, RV 1.1.1a ('). The pitch-accent is marked by underscores and vertical overscores in red.
A map of tribes and rivers mentioned in the Rigveda.
Geographical distribution of the Late Vedic Period. Each of major regions had their own recension of Rig Veda (Śākhās), and the versions varied.
Rigveda manuscript page, Mandala 1, Hymn 1 (Sukta 1), lines 1.1.1 to 1.1.9 (Sanskrit, Devanagari script)
Devi sukta, which highlights the goddess tradition of Hinduism is found in Rigveda hymns 10.125. It is cited in Devi Mahatmya and is recited every year during the Durga Puja festival.
The hymn 10.85 of the Rigveda includes the Vivaha-sukta (above). Its recitation continues to be a part of Hindu wedding rituals.

Some of its verses continue to be recited during Hindu rites of passage celebrations (such as weddings) and prayers, making it probably the world's oldest religious text in continued use.


Any collection of written work, but it is also used more narrowly for writings specifically considered to be an art form, especially prose fiction, drama, and poetry.

The Adventures of Pinocchio (1883) is a canonical piece of children's literature and one of the best-selling books ever published.
A traditional Kyrgyz manaschi performing part of the Epic of Manas at a yurt camp in Karakol, Kyrgyzstan
Limestone Kish tablet from Sumer with pictographic writing; may be the earliest known writing, 3500 BC. Ashmolean Museum
Egyptian hieroglyphs with cartouches for the name "Ramesses II", from the Luxor Temple, New Kingdom
The intricate frontispiece of the Diamond Sutra from Tang dynasty China, the world's earliest dated printed book, AD 868 (British Library)
Dante, Homer and Virgil in Raphael's Parnassus fresco (1511), key figures in the Western canon
A calligram by Guillaume Apollinaire. These are a type of poem in which the written words are arranged in such a way to produce a visual image.
Sculpture in Berlin depicting a stack of books on which are inscribed the names of great German writers.
Cover of a 1921 libretto for Giordano's opera Andrea Chénier
The Library of the Palais Bourbon in Paris
Soviet poet Anna Akhmatova (1922), whose works were condemned and censored by the Stalinist authorities

Subsequent innovations included more uniform, predictable, legal systems, sacred texts, and the origins of modern practices of scientific inquiry and knowledge-consolidation, all largely reliant on portable and easily reproducible forms of writing.


The Buddha, Laozi, and Confucius in a Ming dynasty painting
"Three laughs at Tiger Brook", a Song dynasty (12th century) painting portraying three men representing Confucianism, Taoism (Daoism), and Buddhism laughing together.
Religious symbols from left to right, top to bottom: Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, the Baháʼí Faith, Eckankar, Sikhism, Jainism, Wicca, Unitarian Universalism, Shinto, Taoism, Thelema, Tenrikyo, and Zoroastrianism
Budazhap Shiretorov (Будажап Цыреторов), the head shaman of the religious community Altan Serge (Алтан Сэргэ) in Buryatia.
The Yazılıkaya sanctuary in Turkey, with the twelve gods of the underworld
A map of major denominations and religions of the world
The patriarch Abraham (by József Molnár)
The Torah is the primary sacred text of Judaism.
Jesus is the central figure of Christianity.
Muslims circumambulating the Kaaba, the most sacred site in Islam
The Baháʼí Lotus Temple in Delhi
The Temple of Heaven, a Taoist temple complex in Beijing
Folk depiction of Ganesha in Bharatiya Lok Kala Mandal, Udaipur, India
Depiction of Lord Vishnu
The Padmanabhaswamy Temple houses the Padmanabhaswamy Temple treasure.
The 10th century Gommateshwara statue in Karnataka
Wat Mixay Buddhist shrine in Vientiane, Laos
An 1840 miniature of Guru Nanak
Chickasaw Native cultural/religious dancing
Peyotists with their ceremonial tools
Altay shaman in Siberia
Temple to the city god of Wenao in Magong, Taiwan
Shango, the Orisha of fire, lightning, and thunder, in the Yoruba religion, depicted on horseback
Sacred flame at the Ateshgah of Baku
Ranjit Singh established secular rule over Punjab in the early 19th century.
Average income correlates negatively with (self-defined) religiosity.

Religion is usually defined as a social-cultural system of designated behaviors and practices, morals, beliefs, worldviews, texts, sanctified places, prophecies, ethics, or organizations, that generally relates humanity to supernatural, transcendental, and spiritual elements; however, there is no scholarly consensus over what precisely constitutes a religion.


The Gutenberg Bible, the first printed Bible (mid-15th century)
Hebrew Bible from 1300. Genesis.
Saint Paul Writing His Epistles, c. 1619 painting by Valentin de Boulogne
The Rylands fragment P52 verso is the oldest existing fragment of New Testament papyrus. It contains phrases from the Book of John.
Salomé, by Henri Regnault (1870).
A Bible is placed centrally on a Lutheran altar, highlighting its importance
A Torah scroll recovered from Glockengasse Synagogue in Cologne.
Samaritan Inscription containing portion of the Bible in nine lines of Hebrew text, currently housed in the British Museum
Hebrew text of Psalm 1:1–2
The Isaiah scroll, which is a part of the Dead Sea Scrolls, contains almost the whole Book of Isaiah. It dates from the 2nd century BCE.
The Nash Papyrus (2nd century BCE) contains a portion of a pre-Masoretic Text, specifically the Ten Commandments and the Shema Yisrael prayer.
Fragment of a Septuagint: A column of uncial book from 1 Esdras in the Codex Vaticanus c. 325–350 CE, the basis of Sir Lancelot Charles Lee Brenton's Greek edition and English translation.
A page from the Gutenberg Bible
The contents page in a complete 80 book King James Bible, listing "The Books of the Old Testament", "The Books called Apocrypha", and "The Books of the New Testament".
St. Jerome in His Study, by Marinus van Reymerswaele, 1541. Jerome produced a 4th-century Latin edition of the Bible, known as the Vulgate, that became the Catholic Church's official translation.
Title page from the first Welsh translation of the Bible, 1588. William Morgan (1545–1604)
An early German translation by Martin Luther. His translation of the text into the vernacular was highly influential.
The Tel Dan Stele, Israel Museum. Highlighted in white: the sequence B Y T D W D.
Jean Astruc, often called the "Father of Biblical criticism", at Centre hospitalier universitaire de Toulouse
Old Bible from a Greek monastery
Imperial Bible, or Vienna Coronation Gospels from Wien (Austria), c 1500.
The Kennicott Bible, 1476
A Baroque Bible
The Bible used by Abraham Lincoln for his oath of office during his first inauguration in 1861
American Civil War Era Illustrated Bible
A miniature Bible
1866 Victorian Bible
Shelves of the Bizzell Bible Collection at Bizzell Memorial Library
Detail of Leonardo da Vinci's Annunciation (c. 1472–1475) shows the Virgin Mary reading the Bible.
Bible from 1150, from Scriptorium de Chartres, Christ with angels
Blanche of Castile and Louis IX of France Bible, 13th century
Maciejowski Bible, Leaf 37, the 3rd image, Abner (in the centre in green) sends Michal back to David.
Jephthah's daughter laments – Maciejowski Bible (France, ca. 1250)
Coloured version of the Whore of Babylon illustration from Martin Luther's 1534 translation of the Bible
An Armenian Bible, 17th century, illuminated by Malnazar
Fleeing Sodom and Gomorrah, Foster Bible, 19th century
Jonah being swallowed by the fish, Kennicott Bible, 1476

The Bible (from Koine Greek τὰ βιβλία,, 'the books') is a collection of religious texts or scriptures sacred in Christianity, Judaism, Samaritanism, and many other religions.

Indian religions

Indian religions, sometimes also termed Dharmic religions or Indic religions, are the religions that originated in the Indian subcontinent.

Major religious groups as a percentage of world population
"Priest King" of Indus Valley Civilisation
The so-called Pashupati seal, showing a seated and possibly ithyphallic figure, surrounded by animals.
Hindu Swastika
Buddha statue at Darjeeling
Buddhist Monks performing traditional Sand mandala made from coloured sand
Saga Agastya, father of Tamil literature
Typical layout of Dravidian architecture which evolved from koyil as king's residence.
Krishna fighting the horse demon Keshi, 5th century, Gupta period.
A basalt statue of Lalita flanked by Gaṇeśa and Kārttikeya, Pala era.
The Golden Temple of Mahalakshmi at Vellore.
An aerial view of the Meenakshi Temple from the top of the southern gopuram, looking north. The temple was rebuilt by the Vijayanagar Empire.
Harmandir Sahib (The Golden Temple) is culturally the most significant place of worship for the Sikhs.
Mahamagam Festival is a holy festival celebrated once in twelve years in Tamil Nadu. Mahamagam Festival, which is held at Kumbakonam. This festival is also called as Kumbamela of South.
The largest religious gathering ever held on Earth, the 2001 Maha Kumbh Mela held in Prayag attracted around 70 million Hindus from around the world.
Map showing the prevalence of Abrahamic (pink) and Indian religions (yellow) in each country
A devotee facing the Ganga, reading a stack of holy books ("Chalisa" of various god) at the Kumbh Mela
A holy place for all religion - "Mazar of Pir Mubarak Gazi"

The Vedic Period is most significant for the composition of the four Vedas, Brahmanas and the older Upanishads (both presented as discussions on the rituals, mantras and concepts found in the four Vedas), which today are some of the most important canonical texts of Hinduism, and are the codification of much of what developed into the core beliefs of Hinduism.


Phenomena or entities that are not subject to the laws of nature.

Saint Peter Attempting to Walk on Water (1766), painting by François Boucher
The Archangel Michael wears a late Roman military cloak and cuirass in this 17th-century depiction by Guido Reni
Schutzengel (English: "Guardian Angel") by Bernhard Plockhorst depicts a guardian angel watching over two children.
In Jainism, a soul travels to any one of the four states of existence after death depending on its karmas.
The patron saint of air travelers, aviators, astronauts, people with a mental handicap, test takers, and poor students is Saint Joseph of Cupertino, who is said to have been gifted with supernatural flight.
Theodor von Holst, Bertalda, Assailed by Spirits, c. 1830
Bronze statuette of the Assyro-Babylonian demon king Pazuzu, circa 800 BC –- circa 700 BC, Louvre
Witches by Hans Baldung. Woodcut, 1508

Some religions have religious texts which they view as divinely or supernaturally revealed or inspired.


Revealing or disclosing of some form of truth or knowledge through communication with a deity or other supernatural entity or entities.

Illumination from Liber Scivias, showing Hildegard of Bingen receiving a vision, dictating to her scribe and sketching on a wax tablet.
The mass-revelation at the Mount Horeb in an illustration from a Christian Bible card published by the Providence Lithograph Company, 1907
'Revelation writing': The first draft of a tablet of Bahá'u'lláh, recorded in shorthand script by an amanuensis
An 1893 engraving of Joseph Smith receiving the golden plates and other artifacts from the angel Moroni.
Muhammad's Call to Prophecy and the First Revelation; leaf from a copy of the Majmac al-tawarikh (Compendium of Histories), ca. 1425; Timurid. From Herat, Afghanistan.
Crowd looking at the Sun during the "Miracle of the Sun", Fatima, Portugal, 1917.

Śruti, Sanskrit for "that which is heard", refers to the body of most authoritative, ancient religious texts comprising the central canon of Hinduism.