Middle English, from Late Latin scriptura, from Latin, act or product of writing, from scriptus
First Known Use: 14th century
Sacred writings of religions, comprising a large portion of the literature of the world. Scriptures vary in form, volume, age, and degree of sacredness. Nearly all scriptures were originally oral and were passed down as memorized texts through several generations before being put in writing. In some religions, notably Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism, there is still strong emphasis on the value of reciting or chanting the scriptures aloud. The Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) is the scripture of Judaism; the Bible (Old and New Testaments together) is the scripture of Christianity; and the Qu'ran is the scripture of Islam. Scriptures of Hinduism include the Vedas and Upanishads. See alsoAdi Granth; Avesta; Book of Mormon; sutra; Tripitaka.