By Robert E. Van Voorst

ISBN-10: 0495503878

ISBN-13: 9780495503873

ANTHOLOGY of global SCRIPTURES is a accomplished number of scriptures from the main international religions, together with: Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Shinto, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, in addition to scriptures from newer spiritual activities. The textual content offers scripture readings in context, providing you with a framework that indicates how each one faith is really practiced at the present time, in addition to its heritage, teachings, association, ethics and rituals. The readings are supported by means of introductions, research questions, glossaries, and recommendations for extra interpreting, delivering extra instruments for overview.

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It has no human or divine author but captures the cosmic sounds of truth first heard by rishis [REE-shees], ancient seers. Later seers began a process of oral transmission and practice through priestly families that continues today. Shruti consists of four Vedas (Books of Knowledge), the Brahmanas (Brahmin Books), the Aranyakas (Forest Books), and the Upanishads (Sittings near a Teacher). Taken together, they are ‘‘Vedic’’ scripture. The canon of Shruti has been basically fixed for almost 2,000 years, and all of Hinduism is in some sense based on it.

Given all this variety, is it possible to define the word scripture in a way that takes variety into account yet applies to all world religions? Although some scholars answer in the negative,12 most argue that a comprehensive definition is possible and necessary. The definition we use here is this: Scripture is writing that is accepted and used in a religious community as especially sacred and authoritative. By looking closely at the key words and implications of this definition, we can discuss formal and functional aspects of scriptures—what they are and how people use them.

Scholars of religion have categorized scripture uses in other ways beyond cognitive and noncognitive. Perhaps the most helpful is that of Sam D. Gill, who proposed that uses of scripture are informative and performative. Informative means imparting information in various ways, such as in doctrine and history. 18 In both its informative and performative aspects, scripture is also used for transformation. This transformative power is a result of its sacredness and authority. Scriptures come from a sacred source and are themselves sacred.

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