Internet Sacred Texts Archive

The Internet Sacred Texts Archive contains a huge collection of books and articles about religion, mythology, legends, folklore, the occult, and the esoteric. Many of these are public-domain works which anyone can copy and republish, but the main purpose of the site is to provide material for free online reading. Some of the material could also be very useful to scholars or anyone else interested in doing original research. The site is dedicated to religious tolerance, and has the largest readership of any similar site on the web.

The amount of material on the site is truly amazing. It includes full texts (translations) of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, the Vedas, Upanishads, and other sacred texts of Hinduism, works of Plato, Aristotle, Virgil, Ovid, Archimedes, as well as hundreds of other ancient writings far too numerous to list. There are also full texts of thousands of works from medieval and moderns times. Obviously not all of these are sacred texts in the strictest sense, but most have some connection to religion, folklore, legend, or mythology.

The site is organized into several dozen sections covering areas such as Alchemy, Atlantis, Australia, Basque, Buddhism, Celtic, Christianity, Confucianism, Egyptian, Gothic, Gnosticism, and many more. It would undoubtedly take years to read all the available books and articles, so for this post I decided to focus on just one: The History of the Devil, by Paul Carus, originally published in 1900 and now in the public domain. The introduction describes it as a “lavishly illustrated” “massive work on the history of evil”. Judging by the table of contents, it includes chapters on subjects such as Devil Worship, Demons, Ancient Egyptian Religions, Persian Beliefs, Israel, Christianity, The Inquisition, Witch Hunts, and others. If you don’t want to read it online, print copies and a CD can be purchased. Maybe someday I’ll find time to read it myself.

To visit this site, go to Internet Sacred Texts Archive

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