5 Holy Books That Predate The Bible

Sheet from a Book of the Dead, ca. 1075-945 B.C.E. Papyrus

Sheet from a Book of the Dead, ca. 1075-945 B.C.E. Papyrus, Credits: Wikimedia

Some people mistakenly believe The Bible to be the world’s first ever sacred holy text that survived to this day. While so many religious texts from pagan religions have unfortunately been lost forever, we managed to preserve and restore some texts that pre-date The Bible and you can find some examples below.

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Egyptian Book of the Dead

Unfortunately, the Book of the Dead didn’t reach us in its entirety. From what we know of it, it was made up of several texts, written on papyrus and objects. In the most general terms, The Book of the Dead was a book of spells – both religious and magical. The theme of Death and the Afterlife was one of the most prominent ones in the texts. The Book of the Dead is believed to have influenced The Ten Commandments given to Moses – it reads exactly like them, except in the Negative Registry. For example, The Book of the Dead says “I have not stolen”, whereas the corresponding Commandment is “Thou shall not steal”. The first text of the Egyptian Book of the Dead can be traced back to as early as 3150 BC.

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What do you think?

  • Sam Watts

    This article relies solely, and loosely, on the writings of non-Christian scholars of the Bible and… Wikipedia? The writer has a good command of the English language and may have written some well-thought-out essays, stories– maybe even a book. But the argument here is not sustained throughout, and the conclusions don’t stand up. If this is typical of the writer’s work, he/she would not stand a chance, for example, in a debate against a knowledgeable Christian scholar of the Bible.

    • Knowledgeable Christian Biblical Scholars would admit that it is not Humanities preeminent literature. It is much younger than many other works of writing. The “Bible” itself was not a book until the Council of Nicaea canonized the texts contained within it and disseminated this as the ‘revealed word of (the Abrahamic) god’.
      Debate is dialectical, try to remember that. Even Ken Ham admits that “everyone has the same facts.” The fact is that the Bible is not the oldest literature we have. Honest examination of the facts, using whatever lines of evidence you’d like yield the conclusion that there are older texts which this (non-academic) article identifies.
      Good luck, keep reading.

      • Sam Watts

        Thanks for your reply. You, too.

        • Indeed. I always try to learn every day.
          As a side note, the Bible being a compilation of canonized texts, the texts contained within it were written about two – two and a half centuries before the Council of Nicaea.

          • Sam Watts

            “…the texts contained within it were written about two – two and a half centuries before the Council of Nicaea.” You must be thinking about the New Testament part of the Bible.

          • Yes, the vast majority of the Old Testament is older than that.

      • Erin

        Thank you for explaining the way you did. You have no idea how long I’ve been looking for your conclusion that’s states the Bible is not the first book. You are a great teacher, made it clear for me!

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