Discovering Sacred Texts

Discovering Sacred Texts

A new online resource that explores the British Library’s unparalleled collection of sacred texts

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About the project

The British Library houses one of the world’s greatest collections of sacred texts. These range from some of the best-known and most beautiful manuscripts of the scriptures of various religions, to an extensive collection of printed editions, both early and modern. Items include one of the earliest surviving manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible from the 10th century, the earliest known manuscript of the complete Greek New Testament, the Codex Sinaiticus which dates from the 4th century and rare fragments of first-century Kharosthi scrolls from Afghanistan, thought to be the oldest surviving Buddhist texts.

Currently only a small percentage of these are available on the Library’s website, the majority attached to a site created to accompany a popular, temporary exhibition in 2007, Sacred: Discover what we share. Building on the success of the Sacred  onsite and online exhibitions, we would like to expand this content to create a larger and more comprehensive online resource, with a parallel programme of learning activity and events. After the migration of our old Sacred site and the creation of inspiringly rich content, Discovering Sacred Texts will be the British Library destination for visitors looking for highly curated content relevant to faith and religion.

Project aims

Since 2007 the appetite for religious tolerance and interfaith dialogue appears to be on the decline, despite the need being more urgent. Our intention, therefore, is to shape a new online learning resource that allows visitors to explore the richness and diversity of our collection of sacred texts, contextualised through discursive articles exploring and celebrating this religious diversity.

Articles will be written by academics, faith leaders and practitioners – from the six most practiced faiths in the UK (Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and Sikhism) as well as many lesser known faiths represented across different British Library collections. Where possible, a selection of collection items will be displayed in the new resource.

Our project is supported since inception by

Dangoor Education

Our project is generously supported by

Generously supported by Allchurches Trust

It is also supported by 

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Support the project

We are currently seeking partnership funding to support this project. If you would like to get involved or make a donation to support this important resource, please contact

Contact and feedback

Please feel free to contact if you would like further information.