The Scriptures of Mankind: An Introduction
by Charles Samuel Braden


One who writes on as many different religions and their literatures as are included in this book must perforce depend heavily upon the labors of others who have specialized in the several faiths. The author, therefore, desires to record his deep indebtedness to the devoted scholars who have spent years in the study and translation of these literatures. Most of them are specifically mentioned in the footnotes scattered through the book. After reading and studying the published work of specialists, the author still felt it desirable to submit what he had written to men well versed in each separate area, for their criticisms and suggestions. He desires here to record his deep appreciation of the service of these men: Dr. Henry E. Allen, University of Minnesota, read the chapter on Moslem Sacred Literature; John Clark Archer of Yale University, on the Sikh Scriptures; Swami Akhilananda of the Ramakrishna Vedanta Society of Boston, and Swami Vishwananda of the Vedanta Society of Chicago, on Hindu Scriptures; Dr. Chan Wing-Tsit (W. T. Chan) , Dartmouth College, on the Chinese Literature; Dr. Clarence H. Hamilton, of Oberlin Graduate School of Theology, on Buddhist Scriptures; Dr. D. C. Holtom, on the Japanese Sacred Books; Dr. Charles F. Kraft, of Garrett Biblical Institute, on the Old Testament; Dr. George E. Mendenhall, of Hamma Divinity School, on the Babylonian Literature; Dr. Ernest W. Saunders of Garrett Biblical Institute, on the New Testament; and Dr. John A. Wilson of the Oriental Institute, University of Chicago, on the Egyptian Literature. Final responsibility for what went into each chapter rests not upon these esteemed colleagues but upon the writer, who greatly profited by their corrections and suggestions.

In the preparation of the manuscript he has been greatly helped by various students and secretaries. Mrs. Louise Baldanzi read the entire typescript and the proofs, and gave invaluable help in making it more readable. To Ruth Glenn and Marguerite Williams, my secretaries during the past year, and to Miss Myrtle Myer who again and again gave freely of her time to further the work, my heartiest thanks.

But most of all I owe to my wife, Grace, who did not live to see the final completion of the book; for her inspiration and encouragement, as well as practical suggestions. The summer in our cottage by an inland lake in the North woods, where she painted, or worked, or later, lay prostrated by illness, but uncomplaining, while I wrote a substantial portion of the volume, is a precious memory time will not dim.


Northwestern University

Evanston, Illinois

January 3, 1952