Reading the Sacred Scriptures : From Oral Tradition to Written Documents and their Reception book cover
1st Edition

Reading the Sacred Scriptures
From Oral Tradition to Written Documents and their Reception

ISBN 9781138681309
Published June 20, 2017 by Routledge
324 Pages

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Book Description

Reading the Sacred Scriptures: From Oral Tradition to Written Documents and their Reception examines how the scriptures came to be written and how their authority has been constructed and reinforced over time. Highlighting the measures taken to safeguard the stability of oral accounts, this book demonstrates the care of religious communities to maintain with reverence their assembled parchments and scrolls. Written by leading experts in their fields, this collection chronicles the development of the scriptures from oral tradition to written documents and their reception. It features notable essays on the scriptures of Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Confucianism, Daoism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism, Shinto, and Baha'i.

This book will fascinate anyone interested in the belief systems of the featured religions. It offers an ideal starting point from which undergraduate and postgraduate religious studies students, teachers and lecturers can explore religious traditions from their historical beginnings.

Table of Contents

List of Figures

List of Contributors


Fiachra Long and Siobhán Dowling Long


  1. The hermeneutic task
  2. Fiachra Long

    Part 1

  3. Zoroastrian narrative: from Avesta to the Book of Kings
  4. P. Oktor Skjaervø

  5. How the Hebrew Bible came to be
  6. Carmel McCarthy

  7. Mishnah and midrash as process: the evolution of post-biblical Jewish Scriptures
  8. Rabbi Stephen Wylen

  9. How the early Christians read the Hebrew Scriptures
  10. Seán Freyne

  11. Reading the Sacred Scriptures: some evidence from early Christian Ireland
  12. Thomas O’Loughlin

  13. Reading the Song of Songs: a Jewish and Christian love affair
  14. Margaret Daly-Denton

  15. Mis-reading the Qur’ān: a non-Muslim pitfall?
  16. Jonathan Kearney

  17. Modern approaches to the Qur’ān
  18. Oliver Scharbrodt

  19. The reading of Scripture: A Bahá’i approach
  20. Moojan Momen

    Part 2

  21. Hinduism and its basic texts: the Vedas, Upanishads, Epics and Puranas
  22. Roshen Dalal

  23. The Buddhist Reading of  Scripture
  24. John D’Arcy May

  25. Reading the Scripture from the Sikh tradition: The Guru Granth Sahib
  26. Nikky-Guninder Kaur Singh

  27. Confucianism and its texts
  28. Lee Rainey

  29. The Daodejing as a sacred text
  30. Ronnie Littlejohn

  31. Sacred Texts of the Shinto tradition: historical sources of myth and ritual
  32. Stuart D. B. Picken

    Part 3

  33. The Book of Isaiah and its readers: the exegetical value of reception history
  34. John F. A. Sawyer

  35. The madness of King Saul: an interpretation of I Samuel 9–31 in music
  36. Siobhán Dowling Long

  37. Parallel narrative methods: Ramayana in the arts of Southeast Asia

Jukka O. Miettinen

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 Fiachra Long is a philosopher and Senior Lecturer in Education at University College Cork where he is Head of School.

Siobhán Dowling Long is a Lecturer in Education at University College Cork.



"The accessible and erudite, thought-through chapters of this book open up the foundational scriptures of the world religions and illumine their history of effects in the practices and self-understandings of their own traditions, and in their encounter with other religions and cultures. A first-class, thorough and original book for teaching and learning about the varied ways in which religions relate to their foundational scriptures, bringing together experts on these texts and their hermeneutics in different eras."

- Maureen Junker-Kenny, Trinity College, Ireland

"A nice collection of essays bound together by the common interest in hermeneutics as well as by the variety of topics and traditions presented that leads one to ponder on diversity and unity in reading sacred literature."

- J. Verheyden, Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses