Outline Of Religious Texts

This article covers the outline of religious texts.

Religious texts or sacred texts (also known as scripture, or scriptures, from the Latin scriptura, meaning “writing”) are texts that religious traditions consider to be central to their practice or beliefs. Religious texts may be used to provide meaning and purpose, evoke a deeper connection with the divine, convey religious truths, promote religious experience, foster communal identity, and guide individual and communal religious practice.

Religious texts often communicate the practices or values of a religious tradition and can be looked to as a set of guiding principles which dictate physical, mental, spiritual, or historical elements considered important to a specific religion. The terms ‘sacred‘ text and ‘religious‘ text are not necessarily interchangeable in that some religious texts are believed to be sacred because of their nature as divinely or supernaturally revealed or inspired, whereas some religious texts are simply narratives pertaining to the general themes, practices, or important figures of the specific religion, and not necessarily considered sacred by itself. A core function of a religious text making it sacred is its 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.

It is not possible to create an exhaustive list of religious texts, because there is no single definition of which texts are recognized as religious. We have searched and prepared for you the most comprehensive outline of religious texts on the internet.

History of Religious Texts

Main articles: History of religionsTimeline of religion, and History of writing

One of the oldest known religious texts is the Kesh Temple Hymn of Ancient Sumer, a set of inscribed clay tablets that scholars typically date around 2600 BCE. The Epic of Gilgamesh from Sumer, although only considered by some scholars as a religious text, has origins as early as 2150-2000 BCE, and stands as one of the earliest literary works that include various mythological figures and themes of interaction with the divine. The Rig Veda of ancient Hinduism is estimated to have been composed between 1700–1100 BCE, which not only denotes it as one of the oldest known religious texts but also one of the oldest written religious text which is still actively used in religious practice to this day, though no actual evidence of this text exists prior to the 13th century AD.

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, followed by administrative documentation from temples of the 5th and 6th centuries BCE, with another common date being the 2nd century BCE. 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, before which all religious texts were hand written copies, of which there were relatively limited quantities in circulation.

Jesus God Holy Spirit Bible Gospel Book Glow

Divine Book

Associated terminology

A religious canon refers to the generally accepted, uniform, and often unchanging collection of texts which a religious denomination considers comprehensive in terms of their specific application of texts. For example, the content of a Protestant Bible may differ from the content of a Catholic Bible – insofar as the Protestant Old Testament does not include the Deuterocanonical books while the Roman Catholic canon does. Protestants and Catholics use the same 27 book NT canon, as well as the same 39 book OT protocanon, also shared by Jews.

The word “canon” comes from the Sumerian word meaning “standard”.

The terms “scripture” and variations such as “Holy Writ“, “Holy Scripture” or “Sacred Scripture” are defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as terms which specifically apply to Biblical text and the Christian tradition.

Religious texts of various religions

The following is a non-exhaustive list of links to specific religious texts which may be used for further, more in-depth study.

Middle Eastern religions

Abrahamic religions


The Bible

Main articles: Biblical canonChristian biblical canons, and Books of the Bible

The primary sacred text of Christianity is the Bible. Its name is derived from the Latin word biblia, which simply means “books.” The Christian Bible is made of two parts: the Old Testament, which is almost identical to the Jewish Bible; and the New Testament, a collection of Christian writings that includes biographies of Jesus Christ and the apostles, like the Apostle Paul, letters to new churches, and an apocalyptic work.

The Bible (the Old Testament and the New Testament). The Apostolic churches (Catholicism and Orthodoxy) also include the Deuterocanonicals.

  • Bible – any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity.
  • Old Testament – Christian term for the religious writings of ancient Israel held sacred and inspired by Christians, and which overlaps with the 24-book canon of the Masoretic Text of Judaism.
  • Law (The Torah)– first five books of the Hebrew Bible.
  • Writings (Ketuvim)– third and final section of the Hebrew Bible.
  • Prophets (Nevi’im)– second of the three major sections in the Hebrew Bible.
  • Deuterocanonical books – term used since the sixteenth century in the Catholic Church and Eastern Christianity to describe certain books and passages of the Christian Old Testament that are not part of the Hebrew Bible.
  • New Testament – second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first division being the Old Testament.
  • Gospels – an account, often written, that describes the life of Jesus of Nazareth.
  • Epistles – writing directed or sent to a person or group of people, usually an elegant and formal didactic letter.
  • Bible prophecy – prediction of future events based on the action, function, or faculty of a prophet.
  • Antilegomena – written texts whose authenticity or value is disputed
    • Book of Mormon – sacred text of the Latter Day Saint movement that adherents believe contains writings of ancient prophets who lived on the American continent from approximately 2200 BC to AD 421.
  • Notha – works rejected by the early Church.
  • Gospel of Thomas – well preserved early Christian, non-canonical sayings-gospel discovered near Nag Hammadi, Egypt, in December 1945, in one of a group of books known as the Nag Hammadi library.
  • Authors of the Bible – Few biblical books are regarded by scholars as the product of a single individual; all have been edited and revised to produce the work we read today.
  • The Bible and history – Bible from a historical perspective, includes numerous fields of study, ranging from archeology and astronomy to linguistics and methods of comparative literature.
  • Bible chronology – Bible (Tanakh / Old Testament) measures the passage of time and thus gives a chronological framework to biblical history from the Creation until the kingdoms of Israel and Judah through various genealogies, generations, reign-periods, and other means.
  • Coptic versions of the Bible – There have been many Coptic versions of the Bible, including some of the earliest translations into any language.
  • Genealogy of the Bible – There are various genealogies described in the Bible.
  • History of the English Bible – Partial translations of the Bible into languages of the English people can be traced back to the end of the 7th century, including translations into Old English and Middle English.
  • List of burial places of biblical figures – list of burial places attributed to Biblical personalities according to various religious and local traditions.
  • List of artifacts significant to the Bible – list of artifacts, objects created or modified by human culture, that are significant to the historicity of the Bible.
  • Syriac versions of the Bible – Syria played an important or even predominant role in the beginning of Christianity.
  • Bible Translations

The contents of Christian Bibles differ by denomination.

  • The Canon of Trent defines a canonical list of books of the Catholic Bible that includes the whole 73-book canon recognized by the Catholic Church, including the deuterocanonical books. (In versions of the Latin Vulgate, 3 Esdras, 4 Esdras, and the Prayer of Manasseh are included in an appendix, but considered non-canonical).
  • Greek and Eastern Orthodox Bibles include the anagignoskomena, which consist of the Catholic deuterocanon, plus 3 Maccabees, Psalm 151, the Prayer of Manasseh, and 3 Esdras; The Fourth Book of Maccabees is considered to be canonical by the Georgian Orthodox Church. The Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament, is authoritative.
  • 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.
  • In Oriental Orthodoxy, the biblical canon differs in each Patriarchate.
    • The Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church has at various times included a variety of books in the New Testament which are not included in the canons of other traditions.
    • The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (and its daughter, the Eritrean Orthodox Church) accept various books according to either of the Narrower or the Broader Canons but always include the entire Catholic deuterocanon, the Prayer of Manasseh, 3 Ezra, 4 Ezra, and The Book of Josippon. They may also include the Book of Jubilees, Book of Enoch, 1 Baruch, 4 Baruch, as well as 1, 2, and 3 Meqabyan (no relation to the Books of Maccabees). The New Testament contains the Sinodos, the Books of the Covenant, Clement, and the Didascalia.
  • Some Syrian Churches, regardless of whether they are Eastern Catholic, Nestorian, Oriental or Eastern Orthodox, accept the Letter of Baruch as scripture.
  • Some early Quakers also included the Epistle to the Laodiceans.
Christian Scientists
  • The Bible
  • Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. This textbook, along with the Bible, serves as the permanent “impersonal pastor” of the church.
  • Nag Hammadi library and other Gnostic texts (not from the Bible)
  • Some books of the Old Testament and New Testament
    • Cerdonianism and Marcionism
  • Only the Gospel of Marcion and selected Pauline epistles accepted
Jehovah’s Witnesses
  • The Bible (The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures is their preferred translation.)

Latter Day Saint movement

Further information: Biblical canon § Latter Day Saint canons, and Standard works

  • The Bible
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) uses the LDS edition of the King James Bible for English-speaking members; other versions are used in non-English speaking countries. The Community of Christ (RLDS) uses the Joseph Smith Translation, which it calls the Inspired Version, as well as updated modern translations.
  • The Book of Mormon
  • The Doctrine and Covenants. There are significant differences in content and section numbering between the Doctrine and Covenants used by the Community of Christ (RLDS) and the LDS Church.
  • The Pearl of Great Price is authoritative in the LDS Church, rejected by Community of Christ.
    • Other, smaller branches of Latter Day Saints include other scriptures such as:
      • The Book of the Law of the Lord used by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Strangite)
      • The Word of the Lord and The Word of the Lord Brought to Mankind by an Angel used by (Fettingite) branches.

Native American Church

(Christian-leaning factions)

  • The Bible (among Christian-leaning factions only)

Rastafari movement

  • The Bible (Ethiopian Orthodox canon)
  • the Holy Piby
  • the Kebra Nagast
  • The speeches and writings of Haile Selassie I (including his autobiography My Life and Ethiopia’s Progress)
  • Royal Parchment Scroll of Black Supremacy

Seventh-day Adventists

  • The Bible
  • The writings of Ellen White are held to an elevated status, though not equal with the Bible, as she is considered to have been an inspired prophetess.


  • The Bible (several books omitted)
  • The works of Emanuel Swedenborg (not considered equal to the Bible)

Unification Church

  • The Divine Principle
  • The Bible as illuminated by more recent revelation

Liturgical books

Worship Eucharist Celebration Of The Eucharist

Worship – Celebration Of The Eucharist

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

  • Catholic liturgical books
    • Books of the clergy
      • The Roman Missal (The pope, archbishops, bishops, priests and deacons editions)
      • The Book of the Gospels (evangeliary/evangelion)
      • The Lectionary
      • Sacramentary (for bishops and priests)
      • Pontifical (for bishops)
      • Cæremoniale Episcoporum (for bishops)
      • Breviary (Hours/Divine Office)
      • Gradual (Roman gradual, antiphonal, cantatory)
      • Liber Usualis (Book of Common Use/Gregorian chants)
      • Roman Ritual (baptism, benedictions, blessings, burials, exorcisms, etc.)
      • Roman Martyrology (saints/The blessed)
    • Books of church attendants:
      • Missal (pew cyclical editions)
      • Missalette (pew seasonal editions)
      • Hymnal (pew hymnbook editions)
  • Protestant liturgical books
    • Lutheranism
      • Evangelical Lutheran Hymn-Book (ELHB) 1912
      • The Lutheran Hymnal (TLH) 1941
      • Lutheran Book of Prayer (LBP) 1941
      • Lutheran Service Book and Hymnal (SBH) 1958
      • Lutheran Book of Worship (LBW) 1978
      • Lutheran Worship (LW) 1982
      • Evangelical Lutheran Worship (ELW) 2006
      • Lutheran Service Book (LSB) 2006
      • Numerous hymn, service and guide books (varies by church)
    • Methodism
      • The Sunday Service of the Methodists
      • Book of Worship for Church and Home (1965)
      • The Book of Hymns
      • The United Methodist Hymnal (United Methodist Church)
      • The United Methodist Book of Worship (1992) (United Methodist Church)
      • Book of Discipline (United Methodist) (John Wesley-1784, United Methodist Church-2016)
      • Numerous hymn, service, and guide books (varies by church)
    • Southern Baptists
      • Baptist Hymnal
      • Numerous hymn, service, and guide books (varies by church)

Doctrines and laws

Further information: Christian theology and Noahide Laws

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.

  • Doctrines such as the Trinity, the virgin birth and atonement
  • The Ten Commandments (עֲשֶׂרֶת הַדִּבְּרוֹת‎, Aseret ha’Dibrot), also known in Christianity as the Decalogue, are a set of biblical principles relating to ethics and worship.
  • The Christian Science textbook Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, along with the Bible, serves as the permanent “impersonal pastor” of the Church of Christ, Scientist.
  • Seventh-day Adventists hold the writings of Ellen White are held to an elevated status, though not equal with the Bible, as she is considered to have been an inspired prophetess.
  • Swedenborgianism is defined by the Biblical interpretations of Emanuel Swedenborg starting with Arcana Cœlestia
  • H. Emilie Cady’s 1896 Lessons in Truth, A Course of Twelve Lessons in Practical Christianity is considered a core text of the Unity Church.
  • In Catholicism, the concept of Magisterium reserves matters of religious interpretation to the church, with various levels of infallibility expressed in various documents.
  • Infallibility of the Church is applied to:
    • In the Catholic Church, Papal infallibility of a very small number of papal decrees. Most documents produced by the Pope, including the Catechism of the Catholic Church are considered subject to revision.
  • To the decisions of ecumenical councils in Catholic, some Orthodox, and some Protestant denominations, though the non-Catholic denominations only accept certain councils as genuinely ecumenical.
  • The Salvation Army Handbook of Doctrine
  • Transubstantiation and Marian teachings in Roman Catholic theology. The department of the Roman Curia which deals with questions of doctrine is called the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
  • The distinctive Calvinist doctrine of “double” predestination
  • The Methodist Church of Great Britain refers to the “doctrines to which the preachers of the Methodist Church are pledged” as doctrinal standards


Main article: Islamic holy books and Islamic texts

  • 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 Moses), the Zabur (revealed to David) and the Injil (revealed to Jesus)

Sunni Islam

Other hadith Collections

  • The Book of Al-Fitan by Sahih Bukhari
  • Kitab Al-Fitan wa Ashrat As-Sa’ah by Sahih Muslim
  • Kitab Al-Fitan Wa Al-Malahim by Sunan Abu Dawud
  • Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal
  • Sunan al-Kubra
  • The Meadows of the Righteous (Riyadh al-saliheen)
  • Bulugh al-Maram
  • Musannaf of Abd al-Razzaq
  • Sunan al-Daraqutni
  • Sahih Ibn Hibban
  • Sunan al-Darimi
  • Musnad al-Shafi’i
  • Musnad Abu Hanifa
  • Sahih ibn Khuzaima
  • Musnad Tayalisi
  • Musnad al-Bazzar
  • Musnad Abi Ya’la
  • Musnad Rahwayh
  • Musnad ibn Humayd
  • Musnad al-Firdous
  • Tahdhib al-Athar
  • Al-Mu’jam al-Awsat
  • Al-Mu’jam as-Saghir
  • Majma al-Zawa’id
  • Kanz al-Ummal
  • Shuab ul Iman
  • Sharh Ma’anir Athar
  • Sharh Mushkīlil Athar
  • Silsilah Sahiha
  • Mishkat al-Masabih
  • Al-Adab al-Mufrad
  • Sahih Hadith Kudsi
  • Shama’il Muhammadiyah
  • At-Targhib wat-Tarhib

Shia Islam

  • Books on a 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.


  • Quran
  • Kitab al Majmu
  • Other 114 canonical scriptures such as (Kitab ul Asus by an ancient prophet) and the other 113 scriptures were authored by imam Ali, imam Ja’far al-Sadiq, the 11th Bab Ibn Nusayr and the medieval sages of the sect such as Al-Khasibi.

Mevlevi Order


  • Quran
  • Nahj al-Balagha
  • Buyruks
  • Makalat
  • Vilayetname
  • Akhiratnama

Baháʼí Faith

  • Baháʼí literature
  • Dua and Zyarat
  • Other religions Scriptures


Oral Torah development

Oral Torah development

Judaism’s Sacred texts

Written Torah
Oral Torah
  • Oral Torah
    • Talmud (as encompassing the main Oral Law)
      • Jerusalem Talmud
      • Babylonian Talmud
        • Mishnah, the first major written redaction of the Jewish oral traditions known as the “Oral Torah“.
          • Gemara, rabbinical analysis of and commentary on the Mishnah
          • Aggadah, a compendium of rabbinic texts that incorporates folklore, historical anecdotes, moral exhortations, and practical advice in various spheres, from business to medicine.
    • Tosefta, a compilation of the Jewish oral law from the late 2nd century, the period of the Mishnah
    • Midrash, the genre of rabbinic literature which contains early interpretations and commentaries on the Written Torah and Oral Torah (spoken law and sermons), as well as non-legalistic rabbinic literature (aggadah) and occasionally the Jewish religious laws (Halakha), which usually form a running commentary on specific passages in the Hebrew Scripture (Tanakh).
  • Midrash Halakha
  • Mussar
  • Geonim, presidents of the two great Babylonian, Talmudic Academies of Sura and Pumbedita, in the Abbasid Caliphate, and generally accepted spiritual leaders of the Jewish community worldwide in the early medieval era
  • Rishonim, the leading rabbis and poskim who lived approximately during the 11th to 15th centuries, in the era before the writing of the Shulchan Aruch (Hebrew: שׁוּלחָן עָרוּך, “Set Table”, a common printed code of Jewish law, 1563 CE) and following the Geonim (589-1038 CE)
  • Acharonim, the leading rabbis and poskim (Jewish legal decisors) living from roughly the 16th century to the present, and more specifically since the writing of the Shulchan Aruch (Hebrew: שׁוּלחָן עָרוּך, “Set Table”, a code of Jewish law) in 1563 CE.

Rabbinic literature

Rabbinic literature, in its broadest sense, can mean the entire spectrum of rabbinic writings throughout Jewish history. But the term often refers specifically to literature from the Talmudic era, as opposed to medieval and modern rabbinic writing, and thus corresponds with the Hebrew term Sifrut Hazal (ספרות חז”ל; “Literature [of our] sages [of] blessed memory,” where Hazal normally refers only to the sages of the Talmudic era). This more specific sense of “Rabbinic literature“—referring to the Talmudim, Midrash, and related writings, but hardly ever to later texts—is how the term is generally intended when used in contemporary academic writing. On the other hand, the terms meforshim and parshanim (commentaries/commentators) almost always refer to later, post-Talmudic writers of Rabbinic glosses on Biblical and Talmudic texts.

Mishnaic literature

The Mishnah and the Tosefta (compiled from materials pre-dating the year 200) are the earliest extant works of rabbinic literature, expounding and developing Judaism’s Oral Law, as well as ethical teachings. Following these came the two Talmuds:

The Midrash

The midrash is the genre of rabbinic literature which contains early interpretations and commentaries on the Written Torah and Oral Torah, as well as non-legalistic rabbinic literature (Aggadah) and occasionally the Jewish religious laws (halakha), which usually form a running commentary on specific passages in the Tanakh. The term midrash also can refer to a compilation of Midrashic teachings, in the form of legal, exegetical, homiletical, or narrative writing, often configured as a commentary on the Bible or Mishnah.

Later works by category

Major codes of Jewish law


Jewish thought, mysticism and ethics

Early texts:

    • Noam Elimelech (Elimelech of Lizhensk)
    • Kedushat Levi (Levi Yitzchok of Berditchev)

Foundational texts of various Hasidic sects:

    • Likutei Moharan (Breslov)
    • Me’or Einayim (Chernobyl)
    • Mei Hashiloach (Izhbitza – Radzin)
    • Tanya (Chabad)
    • Vayoel Moshe (Satmar)

Musar literature

    • Mesillat Yesharim
    • Shaarei Teshuva
    • Orchot Tzaddikim
    • Sefer Chasidim
    • The Lonely Man of Faith


Later rabbinic works by historical period

Works of the Geonim

The Geonim are the rabbis of Sura and Pumbeditha, in Babylon (650 – 1250) :

  • She’iltoth of Achai Gaon
  • Halachoth Gedoloth
  • Emunoth ve-Deoth (Saadia Gaon)
  • The Siddur by Amram Gaon
  • Responsa
Works of the Rishonim (the “early” rabbinical commentators)

The Rishonim are the rabbis of the early medieval period (1000 – 1550), such as the following main examples:

  • The commentaries on The Torah, such as those by Rashi, Abraham ibn Ezra and Nahmanides.
  • Commentaries on the Talmud, principally by Rashi, his grandson Samuel ben Meir and Nissim of Gerona.
  • Talmudic novellae (chiddushim) by Tosafists, Nahmanides, Nissim of Gerona, Solomon ben Aderet (RaShBA), Yomtov ben Ashbili (Ritva)
  • Works of halakha (Asher ben Yechiel, Mordechai ben Hillel)
  • Codices by Maimonides and Jacob ben Asher, and finally Shulkhan Arukh
  • Legal responsa, e.g. by Solomon ben Aderet (RaShBA)
  • Jewish philosophical rationalist works (Maimonides, Gersonides etc.)
  • Kabbalistic mystical works (such as the Zohar)
  • Mussar literature ethical works (Bahya ibn Paquda, Jonah of Gerona)
Works of the Acharonim (the “later” rabbinical commentators)

The Acharonim are the rabbis from 1550 to the present day, such as the following main examples:

  • Important Torah commentaries include Keli Yakar (Shlomo Ephraim Luntschitz), Ohr ha-Chayim by Chayim ben-Attar, the commentary of Samson Raphael Hirsch, and the commentary of Naftali Zvi Yehuda Berlin
  • Important works of Talmudic novellae include: Pnei YehoshuaHafla’ahSha’agath Aryei
  • Codices of halakha e.g. Mishnah Berurah by Yisrael Meir Kagan and the Aruch ha-Shulchan by Yechiel Michel Epstein
  • Legal responsa, e.g. by Moses Sofer, Moshe Feinstein
  • Kabbalistic mystical commentaries
  • Philosophical/metaphysical works (the works of the Maharal of Prague, Moshe Chaim Luzzatto and Nefesh ha-Chayim by Chaim of Volozhin)
  • Hasidic works (Kedushath LeviSefath EmmethShem mi-Shemuel)
  • Mussar literature ethical works: Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, Yisrael Meir Kagan and the Mussar Movement
  • Historical works, e.g. Shem ha-Gedolim by Chaim Joseph David Azulai.


Meforshim is a Hebrew word meaning “(classical rabbinical) commentators” (or roughly meaning “exegetes”), and is used as a substitute for the correct word perushim which means “commentaries”. In Judaism this term refers to commentaries on The Torah (five books of Moses), Tanakh, the Mishnah, the Talmud, responsa, even the siddur (Jewish prayerbook), and more.
Classic Torah and Talmud commentaries

Classic Torah and/or Talmud commentaries have been written by the following individuals:

  • Geonim
    • Saadia Gaon, 10th century Babylon
  • Rishonim
    • Rashi (Shlomo Yitzchaki), 12th century France
    • Abraham ibn Ezra
    • Nachmanides (Moshe ben Nahman)
    • Samuel ben Meir, the Rashbam, 12th century France
    • Levi ben Gershom (known as Ralbag or Gersonides)
    • David Kimhi, 13th century France
    • Joseph ben Isaac Bekhor Shor, 12th century France
    • Nissim of Gerona, the RaN, 14th century Spain
    • Isaac Abarbanel (1437–1508)
    • Obadiah ben Jacob Sforno, 16th century Italy
  • Acharonim
    • The Vilna Gaon, Rabbi Eliyahu of Vilna, 18th century Lithuania
    • The Malbim, Meir Leibush ben Yehiel Michel Wisser

Jewish Science

  • The Tanakh
  • Jewish Science: Divine Healing in Judaism


  • Samaritan Torah

Iranian religions

  • 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.
  • Kalâm-e Saranjâm
  • 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
  • Rasa’il al-hikmah (Epistles of Wisdom)


Main articles: Satpanth and Ginans

  • Ginans (the scriptures which contains the inner knowledge of Quran and Atharva veda which had lost in the original form of the two scriptures which had been corrupted too)
  • Dua (prayers)

Indian religions


See also: Buddhist texts

Theravada Buddhism
  • Pali Literature
  • The Tipitaka or Pāli Canon
    • Vinaya Pitaka
    • Sutta Pitaka
      • Digha Nikaya, the “long” discourses
      • Majjhima Nikaya, the “middle-length” discourses
      • Samyutta Nikaya, the “connected” discourses
      • Anguttara Nikaya, the “numerical” discourses
      • Khuddaka Nikaya, the “minor collection”
    • Abhidhamma Pitaka
East Asian Mahayana

Vajrayana texts


Main article: Hinduism’s Sacred Texts

  • The Four Vedas
    • Rig Veda
    • Sama Veda
    • Yajur Veda
    • Atharva Veda
  • Samhitas (Mantras, Prayers)
  • Brahmanas (Commentaries, Instructions)
  • Aranyakas (Meditation, Rituals)
  • Upanishads (Essence, Wisdom)
  • Itihāsas
    • Mahābhārata (including the Bhagavad Gita)
      • Bhagavad Gita
    • Ramayana
  • Puranas (List)
    • Bhagavata Purana
  • Tantras
  • Sutras (List)
  • Stotras
  • Ashtavakra Gita
  • Gherand Samhita
  • Gita Govinda
  • Hatha Yoga Pradipika
  • Yoga Vasistha
In Purva Mimamsa
  • Purva Mimamsa Sutras
In Vedanta (Uttar Mimamsa)
  • Brahma Sutras of Vyasa
In Yoga
  • Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
In Samkhya
  • Samkhya Sutras of Kapila
In Nyaya
  • Nyāya Sūtras of Gautama
In Vaisheshika
  • Vaisheshika Sutras of Kanada
In Vaishnavism
  • Vaikhanasa Samhitas
  • Pancaratra Samhitas
  • Divyaprabandha
In Saktism
  • Sakta Tantras
In Kashmir Saivism
  • 64 Bhairavagamas
  • 28 Shaiva Agamas
  • Shiva Sutras of Vasugupta
  • Vijnana Bhairava Tantra
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
  • Brahma Samhita
  • Jayadeva’s Gita Govinda
  • Chaitanya Bhagavata
  • Chaitanya Charitamrita
  • Prema-bhakti-candrika
  • Hari-bhakti-vilasa
In Lingayatism
  • Siddhanta Shikhamani
  • Vachana sahitya
  • Mantra Gopya
  • Shoonya Sampadane
  • 28 Agamas
  • Karana Hasuge
  • Basava purana
In Kabir Panth
  • poems of Kabir
In Dadu Panth
  • poems of Dadu


  • 11 Angas
    • Secondary
      • 12 Upangas, 4 Mula-sutras, 6 Cheda-sutras, 2 Culika-sutras, 10 Prakirnakas
  • Samaysara
  • Pravachanasara
  • Niyamsara
  • Pancastikayasara
  • Karmaprabhrita, also called Satkhandagama
  • Kashayaprabhrita
  • Jina Vijaya
  • Tattvartha Sutra
  • GandhaHasti Mahabhashya (authoritative and oldest commentary on the Tattvartha Sutra)
  • Four Anuyogas (they call them, the four vedas of jainism)


Main article: Sikh scriptures

East Asian religions




Shinto Holy Books

Indigenous (ethnic, folk) religions

Pre-Columbian Americas

  • Aztec religion
    • The Borgia Group codices
  • Maya religion
    • The Popol Vuh
    • the Dresden Codex
    • the Madrid Codex
    • the Paris Codex

Ethnic religions

  • Bon (Tibetan folk religion)
    • Bon Kangyur and Tengyur
  • Old Norse religion
    • Edda
  • Kiratism
    • The Mundhum of the Limbu ethnic group
  • Shabakism
    • Buyruk (Shabak)
  • Qizilbash
    • Buyruks of Qizilbash
    • Fetevatnameh
  • Yorùbá
    • Odù Ifá
    • Jaap Verduijn’s Odu Ifa Collection

New religious movements

Further information: New religious movements

  • Ayyavazhi
    • The Akilathirattu Ammanai
    • The Arul Nool
  • The ACIM Movement
    • A Course in Miracles
  • 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
  • Aetherius Society
    • The Nine Freedoms
  • Ásatrú
    • Eddur
  • Baháʼí Faith: see Baháʼí literature
  • 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)
  • Cheondoism
    • The Donghak Scripture
    • The Songs of Yongdam
    • The Sermons of Master Haeweol
    • The Sermons of Revered Teacher Euiam
  • Creativity Movement: The writings of Ben Klassen
    • Nature’s Eternal Religion
    • White Man’s Bible
    • Salubrious Living
  • Discordianism: The Principia Discordia
  • Dudeism
    • The Dude De Ching
    • Duderonomy
  • Freemasonry
    • Book of Constitutions
    • All Scriptures
  • Jediism
    • Aionomica
    • Rammahgon
  • Konkokyo
    • Oshirase-Goto Obobe-Chō
    • Konko Daijin Oboegaki
    • Gorikai I
    • Gorikai II
    • Gorikai III
  • Meher Baba
    • God Speaks
    • Discourses
  • Meivazhi
    • The four vedas of Meivazhi
      • Āti mey utaya pūrana veētāntam
      • Āntavarkal mānmiyam
      • Eman pātar atipatu tiru meyññanak koral
      • Eman pātar atipatu kotāyūtak kūr
  • Oahspe Faithism
    • Oahspe: A New Bible
  • Pastafarianism
    • The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster
  • Raëlism: The writings of Raël aka Claude Vorilhon
    • Intelligent Design: Message from the Designers
    • Sensual Meditation
    • Yes to Human Cloning
  • Rastafari movement
    • The Bible (Ethiopian Orthodox canon)
    • the Holy Piby
    • the Kebra Nagast
    • The speeches and writings of Haile Selassie I (including his autobiography My Life and Ethiopia’s Progress)
    • Royal Parchment Scroll of Black Supremacy
  • Ravidassia
    • The Amritbani Guru Ravidass Ji
  • Religious Science
    • The Science of Mind by Ernest Holmes
  • Scientology
    • Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health
    • List of Scientology texts
  • Spiritism
    • The Spirits Book
    • The Book on Mediums
    • The Gospel According to Spiritism
    • Heaven and Hell
    • The Genesis According to Spiritism
  • Tenrikyo
    • The Ofudesaki
    • The Mikagura-uta
    • The Osashizu
  • Thelema
    • The Holy Books of Thelema, especially The Book of the Law
  • Unarius Academy of Science
    • The Pulse of Creation Series
    • The Infinite Concept of Cosmic Creation
  • Urantianism
    • The Urantia Book
  • Wicca
    • Book of Shadows
    • Charge of the Goddess
    • Threefold Law
    • Wiccan Rede
  • Satanism

Historical religions

Bronze Age

Ancient Egyptian religion
  • Pyramid Texts
  • Coffin Texts
  • Book of the Dead
  • Book of Caverns
  • Book of Gates
  • Amduat
  • Book of the Heavenly Cow
  • Litany of Re
  • Atenism: Great Hymn to the Aten
Sumerian religion
  • Hymn to Enlil
  • Kesh Temple Hymn
  • Song of the hoe
  • Innana Descent to the Underworld
  • Epic of Gilgamesh
  • Epic of Enmerkar
    • Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta
    • Enmerkar and En-suhgir-ana
  • Epic of Lugalbanda
    • Lugalbanda in the Mountain Cave
    • Lugalbanda and the Anzud Bird

Classical antiquity

  • Etruscan religion
    • Liber Linteus
    • Pyrgi Tablets
  • Ancient Greek religion
    • Aretalogy
    • Argonautica
    • Bibliotheca
    • Derveni papyrus
    • Ehoiai
    • Homeric Hymns
    • Iliad
    • Odyssey
    • Telegony
    • The golden verses of Pythagoras
    • Delphic maxims
    • Theogony
    • Works and Days
    • Epic Cycle
    • Theban Cycle
  • Hermeticism
    • Hermetica
    • Kybalion
    • Emerald Tablet
  • Mandaeanism
    • The Ginza Rba
    • Qolusta
    • Book of John the Baptizer
    • Baptism of Hibil Ziwa
    • Haran Gawaita
  • Manichaeism
    • The Gospel of Mani. Also known as The Living Gospel
    • the Treasure of Life
    • the Pragmateia (Greek: πραγματεία)
    • The Book of Giants
    • Fundamental Epistle
    • Manichaean Psalter
    • The Shabuhragan
    • The Arzhang
    • The Kephalaia (Greek: Κεφάλαια), “Discourses”, found in Coptic translation.
  • Orphism
    • Orphic Poems

Adapted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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