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YGK Religious Texts

QuestionAnswer
One of the "Four Books" used by the ancient Chinese for civil service study, it contains the sayings (aphorisms) of Confucius. Analects
The philosopher Confucius did not write or edit the words that make up this text; his disciples compiled them in the 5th or 4th century BC. Analects
Confucianism is more of a philosophical system than a religion, and Confucius thought of himself more as a teacher than as a spiritual leader. Analects
It also contain some of the basic ideas found in Confucianism, such as ren (benevolence) and li (proper conduct). Analects
Protestants and Jews assign lower authority to this text because it was written between 300 and 100 BC. Apocrypha
Catholics and Orthodox Christians consider the books that make up this text to be "deuterocanonical," meaning that they are just as important and divinely-inspired as other parts of the Old Testament. Apocrypha
"Apocryphal" in general means "something outside an accepted canon," and, in particular, in ancient Greek it meant "hidden things." Apocrypha
Scholars differ as to which books make up this text, but Tobit, Judith, 1 and 2 Maccabees, Wisdom, Sirach (or Ecclesiasticus), and Baruch are almost always included. Apocrypha
Sacred scripture of Zoroastrianism. Avesta (or Zend-Avesta)
The Gathas may be as old as the 7th century BC, when Zoroaster is thought to have lived, but most of this text was put together by the Sassanid Persian dynasty, between 200 and 640. Avesta (or Zend-Avesta)
It consists of five parts: Gathas (poems written by Zoroaster), Visparat (homages to spiritual leaders), Vendidad (legal and medical doctrine), Yashts (hymns to angels and heroes), and Khurda (lesser rituals and hymns). Avesta (or Zend-Avesta)
Zoroastrianism centers on the eternal struggle between a good entity (Ahura Mazda, or Ormuzd) and its evil counterpart (Angra Mainyu, or Ahriman); Avesta (or Zend-Avesta)
the religion is still practiced by about 120,000 Parsees in Bombay and a few thousand adherents in Iran and Iraq. Zoroastrianism
Sanskrit for "The Song of God," it is a poem found in Book Six of the Hindu epic Mahabharata. Likely formalized in the 1st or 2nd century. The Bhagavad-Gita
It begins on the eve of a battle, when the prince Arjuna asks his charioteer Krishna (an avatar of Vishnu) about responsibility in dealing with the suffering that impending battle will cause. The Bhagavad-Gita
Krishna tells Arjuna that humans possess a divine self within a material form, and that Arjuna's duty is to love God and do what is right without thinking of personal gain--some of the main tenets of Hinduism. The Bhagavad-Gita
Philosophical text behind Daoism, a religion-philosophy founded by the semi-legendary Laozi in the sixth century BC, though scholars now believe it was written about 200 years later, during the Warring States period of the late Zhou Dynasty. Dao de Jing (or Tao Te Ching or The Way and Its Power)
It instructs adherents in restraint and passiveness, allowing the natural order of the universe to take precedent. Dao de Jing (or Tao Te Ching or The Way and Its Power)
It is a report of the words or actions of a Muslim religious figure, most frequently the Prophet Muhammad. Hadith
Each consists of a matn, or text of the original oral law itself, as well as an isnad, or chain of authorities through which it has been passed by word of mouth through the generations. Hadith
Collectively, it points Muslims toward the Sunna, or practice of the Prophet, which together with the Qur'an forms the basis for shari'a , usually translated as Islamic law. Hadith
Published in 1830 by founder, Joseph Smith. Followers believe that the prophet Moroni revealed the location of this book to Smith, and then Smith translated it from a "reformed Egyptian" language. Book of Mormon
It is inscribed on thin gold plates Book of Mormon
Documents the history of a group of Hebrews who migrated to America ca 600 BC. Group divided into 2 tribes: the Lamanites (ancestors of US Indians) & the highly civilized Nephites, a chosen people instructed by Jesus but killed by the Lamanites around 421 Book of Mormon
Arabic for "recitation," it is the most sacred scripture of Islam. It is subdivided into 114 chapters, called suras, which, with the exception of the first one, are arranged in descending order of length. Qur'an (or Koran)
According to Muslim belief, the angel Jibril [Gabriel] visited the prophet Muhammad in 610 and revealed the work to him. Qur'an (or Koran)
Various suras discuss absolute submission to Allah [God], happiness in Heaven versus torture in Hell, and the mercy, compassion, and justice of Allah. Qur'an (or Koran)
The third caliph, Uthman (644-656), formalized the text after many of his oral reciters were killed in battle. Qur'an (or Koran)
Hebrew for "instruction," the Talmud is a codification of Jewish oral and written law, based on the Torah. It consists of the Mishnah (the laws themselves), and the Gemara (scholarly commentary on the Mishnah). Talmud
The Gemara developed in two Judaic centers: Palestine and Babylonia, so there are two parts of the text (Palestinian & Babylonian), the latter considered more authoritative by Orthodox Jews. Rabbis & lay scholars finished the Babylonian text around 600. Talmud
Also called Vedanta, or "last part of the Vedas," they were written in Sanskrit between 900 and 500 BC. Upanishads
Part poetry but mainly prose, the earlier versions laid the foundation for the development of several key Hindu ideas, such as connecting the individual soul (atman) with the universal soul (Brahman). Upanishads
Spiritual release, or moksha, could be achieved through meditation and asceticism. The name means "to sit down close," as pupils did when a teacher recited them. Upanishads
Consist strictly of four hymnbooks: the Rig (prayers in verse), Sama (musical melodies), Yajur (prose prayers), and Atharva (spells and incantations). Vedas
Each part, though, also contains a Brahmana (interpretation), and they also incorporate treatises on meditation (Aranyakas) as well as the Upanishads. Vedas
Written in an archaic form of Sanskrit by early Aryan invaders, possibly between 1500 and 1200 BC, they concentrate on sacrifices to deities, such as Indra (god of thunder), Varuna (cosmic order), and Agni (fire). Vedas
The major gods Vishnu and Shiva appear as minor deities in the text; their elevation, as well as the concept of karma, does not develop until the Upanishads. Vedas
Basis for ancient Chinese philosophy and religion, it was created between 1500 and 1000 BC, though legend has it that the dragon-emperor Fuxi derived its eight trigrams from a turtle shell. Yijing (or I Ching or Book of Changes)
The trigrams consist of three either broken (yin) or unbroken (yang) lines, and by reading pairs of these trigrams randomly, one could learn about humans, the universe, and the meaning of life. Yijing (or I Ching or Book of Changes)
Qin emperor Shi Huangdi burned most scholarly books, but this one escaped because it was not seen as threatening. Yijing (or I Ching or Book of Changes)
Created by: Mr_Morman