How did translations of the Bible help Christianity spread across the world? Why do Muslims fast during Ramadan? And how do Hindus choose whom to worship from a vast array of gods and goddesses? Discovering Sacred Texts explores the richness and diversity of the world’s great faiths, and the deep connections and common threads that link them.

Featured articles

  • The 'Cnut Gospels, Royal 1D.IX

    Manuscripts of the Christian Bible

    Dr Scot McKendrick looks at manuscripts of the Bible prior to the invention of printing, exploring their contents and uses and answering the question of why there are so few manuscripts of the whole Bible.

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    The Qur’an

    The Qur’an, the sacred text of Islam, is believed to be the Word of God as revealed to the Prophet. Here Dr Mustafa Shah describes the historical context of its revelation, its transmission and codification and its shared spiritual heritage with the other main Abrahamic faiths.

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    An image of the Buddha from a Japanese Lotus Sutra

    The Buddha and Buddhist sacred texts

    Professor Peter Harvey recounts the life and teachings of the Buddha, as well as considering the role that the Buddha plays in the deferent branches of Buddhism and how his teachings have been collected.

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  • An illustrated Videvdad Sadah, rspa 230, folios 151v-2r

    An introduction to Zoroastrianism

    Zoroastrianism is one of the oldest living world-religions. Almut Hintze explores its history and some of the key components of the religion: its beliefs, sacred texts and rituals.

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    A intricately patterned and highly coloured detail from Or 7852, a collection of Baha’i tablets

    An introduction to the Baha’i Faith

    Peter Smith looks at the central features of the Baha’i Faith, including its history, and the key beliefs, organisation and world-view of the Baha’i community.

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  • Henry VIII and the Reformation

    Professor Susan Doran discusses Henry VIII and the Reformation, looking at the Catholic devotional texts that were owned by the king, his break with the Catholic Church and the development of the English Bible following the Reformation.

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    Painting of the Muharram Festival. This festival starts on the first day of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar, and lasts for ten days.

    Islamic pilgrimages and sacred spaces

    Hajj is the most well-known pilgrimage in Islam. Here Dr Sophia Arjana discusses its role in the religion, whilst also looking at Shi‘a and regional pilgrimages, sainthood and sacred space in Islam.

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Themes

Explore the sacred texts of the world’s great faiths by theme.

Sacred texts

All faiths have their origins in texts, be they the word of God as revealed to prophets, oral stories retold by one generation to another over centuries, or written down in books. Explore the origins and developments of the world’s major faiths.

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Collection items

Explore the sacred texts of the world’s great faiths.