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Q: Oldest Religious Texts ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   4 Comments )
Subject: Oldest Religious Texts
Category: Reference, Education and News
Asked by: katthehottie-ga
List Price: $30.00
Posted: 12 Jul 2005 11:58 PDT
Expires: 11 Aug 2005 11:58 PDT
Question ID: 542691
Hey, what religion has the oldest texts -- Judaism or Hinduism?
Subject: Re: Oldest Religious Texts
Answered By: journalist-ga on 12 Jul 2005 12:53 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Greetings Katthehottie,

Of the two you mention, Hinduism has the older texts (approx. 3,500
years old compared to Hebrew/Judiac texts at approx. 3,000 years old)
but the religion with the oldest religious texts is neither of those:
The oldest religious texts are Egyptian (from approx. 4,600 to 5,100
years ago).

"The Pyramid Texts were a collection of Egyptian mortuary prayers,
hymns, and spells intended to protect a dead king or queen and ensure
life and sustenance in the hereafter. The texts, inscribed on the
walls of the inner chambers of the pyramids [from c. 2686-c. 2160
BC]., are found at Saqqarah in several 5th- and 6th-dynasty pyramids,
of which that of Unas, last king of the 5th dynasty, is the earliest
known. The texts constitute the oldest surviving body of Egyptian
religious and funerary writings available to modern scholars."

-Encyclopedia Britannia-

Found at

"This is the oldest sacred text in the world that we know of, dating
back to 3100 B.C.E. The Pyramid Texts are funerary inscriptions from
the early pyramids. This was the first translation of the Pyramid
Texts into English, and this etext is the first time it has appeared
on the Internet."

I think you'll enjoy the Internet Sacred Texts Archive.  The main page
is located at


Regarding Judaism and Hinduism, these references (and others) show the
oldest Hindu texts date at approx. 1500 BCE and the oldest Judaic
texts at about 1000 BCE.

"The texts they created are the Vedas, which were written around 1,500
B.C.E. (before common era) and have greatly influenced Indian culture
ever since.";read=101
"There are four Vedas, the Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda and Atharva
Veda. The Vedas are the primary texts of Hinduism. They also had a
vast influence on Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism. The Rig Veda, the
oldest of the four Vedas, was composed about 1500 B.C., and codified
about 600 B.C. It is unknown when it was finally comitted to writing,
but this probably was at some point after 300 B.C."

Modern scholarship holds that the LXX was translated and composed over
the course of the 3rd through 1st centuries BC, beginning with the
Torah. The oldest witnesses to the LXX include 2nd century BC
fragments of Leviticus and Deuteronomy (Rahlfs nos. 801, 819, and
957), and 1st century BC fragments of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus,
Numbers, Deuteronomy, and the Minor Prophets (Rahlfs nos. 802, 803,
805, 848, 942, and 943). Relatively complete manuscripts of the LXX
include the Codex Vaticanus and the Codex Sinaiticus of the 4th
century AD and the Codex Alexandrinus of the 5th century. These are
indeed the oldest surviving nearly-complete manuscripts of the Old
Testament in any language; the oldest extant complete Hebrew texts
date from around 1000 [BCE]."


Regarding existing religions still practiced today, you may find this interesting:

Dear Yahoo!: 
What is the oldest organized religion? 
Praying for an Answer
Omaha, Nebraska 
Dear Praying: 
Hinduism is generally considered to be the oldest religion still being
practiced today. This ancient religion was born when the Aryan peoples
migrated to Northern India and first put their religious tradition
into writing. The texts they created are the Vedas, which were written
around 1,500 B.C.E. (before common era) and have greatly influenced
Indian culture ever since.

Several other religions are almost as old as Hinduism. Judaism traces
its roots back to the patriarch Abraham, who lived around 1,800 B.C.E.
While the Jewish people are descended from Abraham, it was Moses who
first recorded the Torah, the Jewish holy text, in 1,400 B.C.E. Most
sources consider the date of the Torah as the beginning of Judaism.

Zoroastrianism is sometimes called the world's oldest prophetic
religion. It's certainly one of the earliest religions founded by one
person. Scholars are not certain when the founding prophet Zarathustra
actually lived. Some believe Zarathustra lived in the 6th century
B.C.E., while others trace his writings to the 14th or 13th centuries

India has been a veritable cradle for world religions -- in addition
to Hinduism, both Jainism and Buddhism originated in India. The first
of Jainism's sacred lords, called a Tirthankara, lived in the 8th
century B.C.E. The last of these lords was Mahavir, who lived in the
5th century B.C.E. and was a key figure in spreading the religion. The
philosophical teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, known as the Buddha,
spread around Asia after his death in 483 B.C.E.

Oddly enough, the two religions that dominate the world today are
relative newcomers to the spiritual scene. Christianity began with the
teachings of Jesus Christ around 30 C.E., and Islam started in 610
C.E. with the prophet Muhammad's revelation.


Thank you for asking this interesting question!

Best regards,


"oldest religious texts"
"the pyramid texts" dates
"oldest Hindu texts"
oldest texts Judaism date
oldest texts Hinduism date
the vedas date
"oldest Hebrew texts"
katthehottie-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Terrifically organized, cohesive and astute of an answer.  And so
quickly! How long did this take you to do?? This answer will help me
out SO much - I am very glad you answered this! ~~Kat :-)

Subject: Re: Oldest Religious Texts
From: journalist-ga on 13 Jul 2005 09:57 PDT
Katthehottie, thank you for the five star rating, and for your kind
words!  I'm delighted you are pleased with my research efforts.

Regarding the time spent on your answer, you posted it at 11:58 PDT
and I posted my answer at 12:53 PDT - so it took me approximately one
hour to locate the links that I provided for you.  However, my
favorite personal research activity is the study of world myths,
legends, and theologies, so I was already somewhat acquainted with the
answer.  I find the different concepts (and origins) of religions to
be very interesting topics.  :)

Best regards,
Subject: Re: Oldest Religious Texts
From: holamuchacha-ga on 13 Jul 2005 11:10 PDT
Well I am glad that my question peaked your interest so much.  Good
for you and me!  Thanks again.
Subject: Re: Oldest Religious Texts
From: captaink-ga on 15 Aug 2005 17:31 PDT
The ancient scriptures of the Indus Valley Civilisation, the "Vedas"
are by far the oldest philosophical thoughts of mankind.

The Vedas are the basic philosophical tennent/cannon which makes up
the Hindu religion.

The Vedas were written to Sanskrit about 3,500 years ago, although
they were passed through oral traditions for over 8,000 years.
Subject: Re: Oldest Religious Texts
From: dinersclub-ga on 19 Aug 2005 19:16 PDT
It is well known that Hiduism regards three Gods
1) Brahma
2) Vishnu
3) Mahesh (Shiva)
and also it is well known fact that when we try to write "Brahma" in
hebrew then we end up in writing "Abraham".

Well, in India, if you try to find out how many worship places are
there for Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. You will find most of the temples
of Vishnu (Lakshmi Narayan) are in northern part of India.Shiva
temples are in southern part of India. And most importantly, you will
not find more than one place for Brahma temple. In hinduism, Brahma's
wife name was "Saraswati" whereas in Judaism, Abraham's wife name was
"Sarah". Isn't it interesting?

Northern part of India is Aryan dominent and southern part of India is
Dravidian dominent.

Hiduism doesn't preach to follow with hard and fast rule of worshiping
one God. Whoever you regard most you can worship.

Now in my understanding, ancient Hinduism thinkers paid regard to all
people's sentiments, whether they are worshiping Shiva in South India
or Vishnu in North India or Abraham in far west of Asia, and regarded
all three most worshiped personalities as Gods at that time.

In hinduism, still all three are regarded equal, no one is condered as
superior to other one. Rest of other worship Gods and Godesses,
including Buddha, Mahavir (Jain's God), Rama, Krishna and even Jesus
are considered to be rebirth of these three only.

i.e. Brahma (Abraham), Vishnu and Mahesh (Shiva)

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