The Book of the World: A Contemporary Scripture


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Imagine scripture created for today. Scripture without a religion. Scripture intended not to replace other holy books but to offer alongside them its own poignant witness. Scripture written not by prophet or saint, mystic or messiah, guru or god, but by the world. Scripture nearly 3,000 verses long, woven seamlessly from quotations from around the globe. Scripture whose creator is unknown and whose origins are a mystery. Scripture that first appeared on the Internet, only to be suppressed. Scripture meant not only to be read but also to be tested, and transcended.

Imagine it no more. That scripture is here.


I edited and published this unique book on behalf of its unknown author. Reflected in its pages are many of the values and concerns that are central to the living of a spiritual life in a contemporary world, such as

  • the cultivation of compassion
  • the expansion of peace and justice
  • the growth of respect for this planet and all living things

The book calls its readers out of complacency, urging them to keep on with the great work of making their soul, which is, at the same time, the great work of making the world.

The Book of the World is not divinely revealed. No god dictated its words. No god stands behind its words, backing them up. The Book of the World, in all its glory and all its pain, is a fully human document.

Not a single line of this book is original to its unknown author (who really should be called an editor or redactor). Every verse is a quotation, its verse number referring to a note at the bottom of the page, naming its source. Woven together in the document are nearly 3,000 quotations from more than 1,200 spiritual teachers, ethicists, philosophers, theologians, political prisoners, refugees, human rights advocates, environmentalists, laborers, and so on.

This book of scripture was clearly not created to supercede or replace other sacred texts, such as the Bible, but to offer alongside them its own beauty and witness. It may not be regarded as scripture by any particular religious group; it does not wish to be. But it could be regarded as scripture by anyone who receives it with an open heart and spacious mind. This is its intention: to speak not to some but to any and all, regardless of religion, regardless of country, regardless of race.