The holy books

Published Nov. 18, 1995|Updated Oct. 5, 2005

From the sacred writings flow the rivers of faith for the adherents to the world's five major religions.

Here's a brief description of the holy books for each faith community.

BUDDHISM: The sacred writings are known as the Three Baskets, or Tri-Pitaka, made up of the Buddha's discourses; the rules of discipline for Buddhist monks and nuns; and further knowledge known as "the great teaching basket."

CHRISTIANITY: The Bible consists of the Old Testament - the books of the Hebrew Bible - and the New Testament - the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded by his disciples.

HINDUISM: The Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads are considered the two most important of many sacred books.

ISLAM: Islam's holy book, the Koran, is believed to have been written by God and dictated by the Angel Jibra'il to Muhammad, the last prophet.

JUDAISM: The Hebrew Bible has three parts: the Torah, or five books of Moses; the Prophets, such as Ezekiel and Isaiah; and the Writings, such as Esther and the Psalms.

Source: State of Religion Atlas & Directory of Cults, Sects, Religions and the Occult

1995 Religion News Service