Sacred Scripture
A holy text of a fictional religion.
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(permanent link) added: 2012-07-23 12:48:01 sponsor: LordGro (last reply: 2012-08-09 18:55:07)

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Rolling Updates. Alternative title suggestions: Fictional Sacred Book, Holy Book, Fantastic Holy Book, Fantastic Sacred Scripture
Books that are considered sacred by the followers of a fictional religion, or sometimes philosophy.

The most holy of books are attributed to a god, or just plain God, although a prophet serving as a transmitter for the Word of God is usually taken for granted. A more modest claim is that the author/prophet was inspired by a deity. Finally, the authors may not be considered prophets outright, but chroniclers of divine acts or sacred events, or teachers of perfect wisdom. The authors of sacred scriptures are often Shrouded in Myth, but they are usually themselves figures of veneration within their religion.

What it means to be a „sacred“ text may vary (just as it does in real life). Sometimes, it is only the text that is holy; other times, the physical books or scrolls containing holy texts are sacred objects in themselves, the handling of which is tied to certain dos and don'ts.

In real life, it is often a sensitive matter to translate or adapt a Sacred Scripture, as within the religions built upon such a text, even minute details can carry substantial weight for the practices and teachings of a religion. A few religions go so far as to teach that their holy book cannot be „correctly“ translated at all, and is only perfect in the original text, which means it is written in a Sacred Language. When a fictional sacred book isn't written in a Sacred Language, it's probably Eternal English.

A common twist in Speculative Fiction is an isolated community basing a religion or cult on a sacred book which reveals itself as a mundane text from another culture at closer inspection.

May overlap with Tomes of Prophecy and Fate, or even Tome of Eldritch Lore if we are speaking of a Religion of Evil. Characters quoting from a Holy Book is As the Good Book Says.

Examples:

Franchise
  • Transformers has the Covenant of Primus, which is a combination of historical records and list of prophecies.
  • Planet of the Apes had the Sacred Scrolls, written by the deified Lawgiver.

Film
  • Not a paper book, but the tribe of children from Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome paid comparable homage to a collection of photos they could examine with an old toy slide-viewer. When someone showed them how to work an old phonograph record, they repeated its words as if they, too, were sacred.

Literature
  • The Orange Catholic Bible from Frank Herbert's Dune universe.
  • A jeweled manuscript Bible appears in several important occasions in the Deryni works, most often in the form of oaths of fealty or allegiance sworn on the Bible.
  • The prophecies from The Belgariad may count. Certainly, there are religious scriptures mentioned, belonging to the various races.
  • Discworld has many. These include The Book of Om; The Vengeful Testement of Offler; The Cenotine Book of Truth; The Scrolls of Wen the Eternally Surprised; and The Living Testement of Nuggan (the only holy book to be published in a ring binder for frequent updates).
  • Gullivers Travels mentions that the Lilliputians have "the Brundecral (which is their Alcoran)."
  • The Kushiel's Legacy series: The Trois Milles Joies is an erotic sacred text. It translates to "Three Thousand Pleasures", and is the in-universe version of the Kama Sutra.

Live-Action TV
  • The Rules of Acquisition of the Ferengi in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Actually they are a set of business guidelines, but they are said to be divinely inspired, and therefore sacred.
  • Came up more than once in Star Trek: The Original Series:
    • In "The Omega Glory", the Yangs have a sacred text, but nobody can read it properly. When Kirk finally reads it out loud we discover it's identical to the US Constitution.
    • In "A Piece of the Action" our heroes discover a planet has been using a book about gangs in 1920's Chicago (left by a previous Federation vessel) as their holy book.
  • In Red Dwarf, the Cat race writes its holy scriptures in smells on blank paper. Lister finds a copy, and discovers that he is the Cats' god.
  • In Babylon 5, a sort of meta-holy book is created from the first page of every known holy book of all the sentient races, on which the President is sworn in.

Tabletop Games
  • In Dungeons & Dragons, the vast majority of the rather large number of gods have a holy book attached to their faith.
  • In Traveller, Maar Ki Zon is the sacred scripture of the Maar Zon, the national religion of the Sylean people.
  • Tabletop Game/{{Warhammer 40,000}} is stuffed with these: The Lectitio Divinatatus penned by Lorgar (which later formed the basis of the Imperial faith), the Codex Astartes by Guilliman, the Imperial Infantryman's Uplifting Primer, to name only a few.

Video Games
  • The Chant of Light in the Dragon Age series is the holy text of the Chantry.

Western Animation
  • From Adventure Time: The hero's handbook, The Enchiridion, is a legendary book that tells you how to be a hero. It's never called "holy", but it's kind of a big deal.

Real Life
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