Compilation of World Scripture was possible only through the cooperation
of a great many scholars and religious thinkers who devoted themselves
unselfishly to the massive task of assembling and sifting through
countless passages from scripture. The advisors and contributors who
materially participated in this task, or who kindly reviewed the completed
manuscript to assure that their tradition was represented fairly, are
listed on the pages following the title page. In addition, I wish to
acknowledge the words of encouragement and valuable advice which came from
many sources: from Prof. Wande Abimbola, Dr. M. Darrol Bryant, Rev. Kanake
Dhammadina, Dr. Frank K. Flinn, Prof. Durwood Foster, Rabbi David J.
Goldberg, Prof. Naofusa Hiraii, Dr. Emefie Ikenga-Metuh, Prof. David
Kalupahana, Dr. Frank Kaufmann, Dr. Quan-tae Kim, Robert Kittel, Acharya
Sushil Kumarji Maharaj, Dan May, Dr. Richard Quebedeaux, Thomas Selover,
Bishop Krister Stendahl, Dr. Robert Stockman, Dr. Thomas G. Walsh, Jin
Seung Yoo, and from my students at the Unification Theological Seminary.
Special thanks goes to Dr. Yoshihiko Masuda, who labored to secure
permissions to reprint the passages and gave many years of devoted service
to the project. Robert Brooks, Carrol Ann Brooks, Hal MacKenzie, Betty
Lancaster, Allan Gonzalez, Robert Selle, Louis Rayapen, David Hose, Gerry
Servito, and Thomas Cromwell all worked to enable this book to see the
light of day. Rev. Chung Hwan Kwak, President of the International
Religious Foundation, offered precious spiritual guidance and unstinting
Behind the efforts of these individuals lies the larger project of
interreligious dialogue, which has created the spiritual and intellectual
climate which has made this anthology possible. In particular, through
the conferences of the International Religious Foundation, where most of
the editors have sat together to discuss common themes and problems among
the religions, we have come to a consciousness of the common ground among
religions. These conferences have also fostered a spirit of
interreligious alliance, as we have come to recognize that the religious
perspective on human life, which begins with acknowledging Ultimate
Reality, needs defense and support from religious people everywhere,
regardless of tradition or creed. Such interfaith discussions created the
spiritual foundation upon which World Scripture could be created with the
cooperation of many individuals in the spirit of genuine dialogue.
Finally, I wish to give grateful acknowledgment to the Reverend Sun Myung
Moon, who first conceived the idea for World Scripture and commissioned
its preparation. In his address to the first Assembly of the World's
Religions in 1985, he called the religious leaders of the world to
discover their common purposes and bonds of friendship with which to
create an alliance of all the world's religions:
"As far as I know, God is not sectarian. He is not obsessed with minor
details of doctrine. We should quickly liberate ourselves from
theological conflict which results from blind attachment to doctrines
and rituals, and instead focus on living communication with God. I
think we urgently need to purify the religious atmosphere into one in
which believers can have living faith and every soul can communicate
with God. In God's parental heart and His great love, there is no
discrimination based on color or nationality. There are no barriers
between countries or cultural traditions, between East and West, North
and South. Today God is trying to embrace the whole of humankind as His
children. Through interreligious dialogue and harmony we should realize
one ideal world of peace, which is God's purpose of creation and the
common ideal of humankind."
World Scripture has been written to further this noble goal.
1. An organizational plan rooted in Hinduism is found in Whitall N. Perry,
A Treasury of Traditional Wisdom. Perry divides his anthology of
scriptural texts and mystical passages according to the three paths of
karma yoga, (action), bhakti yoga (devotion), and jnana yoga (knowledge),
although he does not explicitly acknowledge this indebtedness to the Hindu
2. Even within the Christian family, the relative value of faith (the
grace of Christ) and works (obedience to the moral law) for salvation has
been a source of contention. Most Protestants stress salvation by faith
alone, with good works being a consequence of faith. Roman Catholics,
Orthodox, and some Protestants (i.e., Anglicans) see faith and works as
contributing synergistically to realization of the highest good.
3. Where a scripture is known by more than one name, or by both an English
name and a title in the original language, it will be cited by the name
which appears first in this introduction.
4. There are variations in the versification of the several English
renderings of the Qur'an. This anthology has selected the versification
employed by M. Pickthall's translation as a standard.
5. He is attested to by the Rig Veda (10.136), the Srimad Bhagavatam
(5.3.20), and the Shiva Purana (7.2.9). Mahavira's predecessor,
Parsvanatha, the 23rd Tirthankara, is mentioned with Mahavira in the Pali
6. The Buddha's chronology is uncertain; the available data has suggested
a range of dates for the death of the Buddha from 544 b.c.--the date
officially accepted by much of the Buddhist world--to 483 b.c. Evidence
suggests that he lived about twenty years after the passing of Mahavira.
7. These two books were taken from chapters 39 and 28 of the Book of
8. On the meaning of 'translation,' see p. 633n.