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The Middle East As Net Exporter of Religion

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Scripture (Holy Book)

Another feature shared by the religions of the Middle East is their compilation of a sacred scripture considered to be the divinely inspired preachings of their prophets. The holy book of Zoroastrianism, the Avesta, contains the Gathas or hymns of the prophet Zoroaster, augmented by other prayers to Ahura Mazda and laws for the proper conduct of life. The scripture of the Jews, the Hebrew Bible, is a compilation of the history of the children of Israel and the teachings of their prophets; it coalesced gradually between about 500 and 100 BCE. Christians add to the Hebrew Bible (which they usually refer to as the “Old Testament”) their own “New Testament” (Gospels), which relates accounts of the life and teachings of Jesus and describes the history and teachings of the early Christian community in the century or so after Jesus’ death. The holy book of Muslims, the Qur’an (Koran), contains the revelations they consider their prophet, Muhammad, to have received directly from God; these were compiled shortly after Muhammad’s death in 632 CE.

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