Historic World Religions

Ancient Mesopotamia – Sumer, Iraq

Between 6-5th millennium BC

It is also one of the first civilizations in the world, along with ancient Egypt, the Caral-Supe civilization, the Indus Valley civilization, the Minoan civilization, and ancient China. Living along the valleys of the Tigris and Euphrates, Sumerian farmers grew an abundance of grain and other crops, the surplus from which enabled them to form urban settlements. Proto-writing dates back before 3000 BC. The earliest texts come from the cities of Uruk and Jemdet Nasr, and date to between c. 3500 and c. 3000 BC.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akkadian_Empire (during 2334-2154 BC )
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sargon_of_Akkad (during 24-23 c BC )

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akkadian_Empire from  2334 – 2154 BC


Ancient Egypt’s Religion

The earliest examples of religion from ancient Egypt are from around 2375 BC where we see a complete array of deities and ritual processes based on some kind of understanding of the non-visible processes such as death, healing, and energy transference. They had a very good idea about the body and its organs. This form that is revealed probably existed in its development for a few thousand years in oral tradition while developing the first forms of language, trade, and ownership which led to the building, the first sciences, and spiritual growth.


Ultimately the name and diversity of the religion/s of Hinduism spans a long range of time, and several sacred texts and traditions. Originally the word Hindu was Sindu, and therefore was first used in language to reference India’s peoples whom lived across and near the river named Sindu. The most popularized Hindu religion comes from the Vedic period, and the Vedic texts. However, there are at least six primary subsects of what would all be considered Hinduism. It expands a vast set of beings/deities and can be perceived as poly, pan, or mono-theistic depending on the time and way of understanding mythologies of the Indian’s culture and lineage through ‘Hinduism’. The word ‘hindu’ is found in the Avesta.

Some text may be as old as 3rd or 2nd millenium (2000 BC). However the Vedic period was in 500-300 BC. insterestingly though, they were not really considered a religion, it wasn’t until 1830s that the world Hinduism would be used to describe certain beliefs of the native culture of the peoples of India.

The term “Hinduism” was coined in around 1830 by those Indians who opposed British colonialism, and who wanted to distinguish themselves from other religious groups. Before the British began to categorise communities strictly by religion, Indians generally did not define themselves exclusively through their religious beliefs; instead identities were largely segmented on the basis of locality, language, varṇa, jāti, occupation, and sect. In the 18th century, the European merchants and colonists began to refer to the followers of Indian religions collectively as Hindus.

Wiki on Hinduism


The Avesta (text) and Zoroaster (prophet) origins are unclear but are probably from sometime between 1500-500 BCE. The language used for this is similar to the Vedas of a similar time.

It has a dualistic cosmology of good and evil and an eschatology which predicts the ultimate conquest of evil by good. Zoroastrianism exalts an uncreated and benevolent deity of wisdom known as Ahura Mazda (lit. ’Lord of Wisdom’) as its supreme being. Historically, the unique features of Zoroastrianism, such as its monotheism, messianism, belief in free will and judgement after death, conception of heaven, hell, angels, and demons, among other concepts, may have influenced other religious and philosophical systems, including the Abrahamic religions and Gnosticism, Northern Buddhism, and Greek philosophy.

Wiki on Zoroastrianism


The religion of Isreal, in which Isreal is first mentioned in the 13th century BCE attests to worship as early as 12th century (Late Bronze Era).

Prophets Elijah in the 9th century, and at the latest Hosea in the 8th. Worship of Baal and Yahweh coexisted. Until King Ahab and Queen Jezebel would elevate Baal to the status of a national god.

Yahwism is the name given by modern scholars to the religion of ancient Israel. Yahwism was polytheistic, with a plethora of gods and goddesses. Heading the pantheon was Yahweh, with his consort, the goddess Asherah; below them were second-tier gods and goddesses such as Baal, Shamash, Yarikh, Mot, and Astarte, all of whom had their own priests and prophets and numbered royalty among their devotees, and a third and fourth tier of minor divine beings, including the mal’ak, the messengers of the higher gods, who in later times became the angels of Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

The practices of Yahwism included festivals, sacrifices, vow-making, private rituals, and the adjudication of legal disputes. Contrary to the picture presented in the Hebrew Bible, the Temple in Jerusalem was not the central, or even sole, temple of Yahweh, but the king was the head of the national religion and thus the viceroy on Earth of the national god, a role reflected each year when he presided over a ceremony at which Yahweh was enthroned in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.

Wiki Yahwism


2000-300 BC

Cainites refer to the relations of Cain and Able (the first murder, or act of evil) in 2nd century, (in East Roman Empire) and an important text from this time was the Gospel of Judas (revealing the truth about 11 and betrayal) and Canaan is the location Abram was led to by God (from Ur). By 300 AD Caaninites in Hebrew translated simply to “merchant”.




900 BC

Jainism also known as Jain Dharma, is an ancient Indian religion. Jainism traces its spiritual ideas and history through the succession of twenty-four Tirthankaras (supreme preachers of Dharma), with the first in the current time cycle being Rishabhadeva, whom the tradition holds to have lived millions of years ago; the twenty-third tirthankara Parshvanatha, whom historians date to 9th century BCE; and the twenty-fourth tirthankara, Mahavira around 600 BCE. Jainism is considered to be an eternal dharma with the tirthankaras guiding every time cycle of the cosmology. The three main pillars of Jainism are ahiṃsā (non-violence), anekāntavāda (non-absolutism), and aparigraha (asceticism).


600 BC

Dharmavinaya — “doctrines and disciplines” — and Buddha Dharma, is an Indian religion or philosophical tradition based on a series of original teachings attributed to Gautama Buddha.[3] It originated in ancient India as a Sramana tradition sometime between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE, spreading through much of Asia. It is the world’s fourth-largest religion

Wiki on Buddhism


535 BCE

At its core, the Tanakh is an account of the Israelites’ relationship with God from their earliest history until the building of the Second Temple (c. 535 BCE). Abraham is hailed as the first Hebrew and the father of the Jewish people. As a reward for his act of faith in one God, he was promised that Isaac, his second son, would inherit the Land of Israel (then called Canaan). Later, the descendants of Isaac’s son Jacob were enslaved in Egypt, and God commanded Moses to lead the Exodus from Egypt. At Mount Sinai, they received the Torah—the five books of Moses. (…) Eventually, God led them to the land of Israel where the tabernacle was planted in the city of Shiloh for over 300 years to rally the nation against attacking enemies. As time went on, the spiritual level of the nation declined to the point that God allowed the Philistines to capture the tabernacle. The people of Israel then told Samuel the prophet that they needed to be governed by a permanent king, and Samuel appointed Saul to be their King. When the people pressured Saul into going against a command conveyed to him by Samuel, God told Samuel to appoint David in his stead. Once King David was established, he told the prophet Nathan that he would like to build a permanent temple, and as a reward for his actions, God promised David that he would allow his son, Solomon, to build the First Temple and the throne would never depart from his children.

Wiki on Judaism


Gnosticism (refers to ‘having knowledge’) is a collection of religious ideas and systems which coalesced in the late 1st century AD among Jewish and early Christian sects. These various groups emphasized personal spiritual knowledge (gnosis) above the orthodox teachings, traditions, and authority of religious institutions. Viewing material existence as flawed or evil, Gnostic cosmogony generally presents a distinction between a supreme, hidden God and a malevolent lesser divinity (sometimes associated with the Yahweh of the Old Testament) who is responsible for creating the material universe…. Gnostics considered the principal element of salvation to be direct knowledge of the supreme divinity in the form of mystical or esoteric insight. Many Gnostic texts deal not in concepts of sin and repentance, but with illusion and enlightenment.

Wiki on Gnosticism

There are many branches of thought within Gnosticism because of its ancient origins.


Diverse branches in both the east and west have expanded since the birth of Jesus of Nazareth.

Christianity began as a Second Temple Judaic sect in the 1st century in the Roman province of Judea. Jesus’ apostles and their followers spread around the Levant, Europe, Anatolia, Mesopotamia, the South Caucasus, Egypt, and Ethiopia, despite initial persecution. It soon attracted gentile God-fearers, which led to a departure from Jewish customs, and, after the Fall of Jerusalem, AD 70 which ended the Temple-based Judaism, Christianity slowly separated from Judaism. Emperor Constantine the Great decriminalized Christianity in the Roman Empire by the Edict of Milan (313), later convening the Council of Nicaea (325) where Early Christianity was consolidated into what would become the State church of the Roman Empire (380). The early history of Christianity’s united church before major schisms is sometimes referred to as the “Great Church” (though divergent sects existed at the same time, including Gnostics and Jewish Christians). The Church of the East split after the Council of Ephesus (431) and Oriental Orthodoxy split after the Council of Chalcedon (451) over differences in Christology,[4] while the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church separated in the East–West Schism (1054), especially over the authority of the bishop of Rome. Protestantism split in numerous denominations from the Catholic Church in the Reformation era (16th century) over theological and ecclesiological disputes, most predominantly on the issue of justification and the primacy of the bishop of Rome. Christianity played a prominent role in the development of Western civilization, particularly in Europe from late antiquity and the Middle Ages.[5][6][7][8] Following the Age of Discovery (15th–17th century), Christianity was spread into the Americas, Oceania, sub-Saharan Africa, and the rest of the world via missionary work.

Wiki on Christianity


Manichaeism was founded in the 3rd century AD by the Parthian prophet Mani (216-274 AD).

Manichaeism taught an elaborate dualistic cosmology describing the struggle between a good, spiritual world of light, and an evil, material world of darkness.[5] Through an ongoing process that takes place in human history, light is gradually removed from the world of matter and returned to the world of light, whence it came. Its beliefs were based on local Mesopotamian religious movements and Gnosticism.[6] It revered Mani as the final prophet after Zoroaster, Gautama Buddha, and Jesus.

Manichaeism was quickly successful and spread far through the Aramaic-speaking regions.[7] It thrived between the third and seventh centuries, and at its height was one of the most widespread religions in the world. Manichaean churches and scriptures existed as far east as China and as far west as the Roman Empire.[8] It was briefly the main rival to Christianity before the spread of Islam in the competition to replace classical paganism. Beginning with the pagan emperor Diocletian, Manichaeism was persecuted by the Roman state and was eventually stamped out of the Roman Empire.

Wiki on Manichaeism

Catholic Orthodoxy

110 AD

Paul and the Apostles traveled extensively throughout the Roman Empire, including Asia Minor, establishing churches in major communities, with the first churches appearing in Jerusalem and the Holy Land, then in Antioch, Ethiopia, Egypt, Rome, Alexandria, Athens, Thessalonica, Illyricum, and Byzantium, which centuries later would become prominent as the New Rome.[70] Christianity encountered considerable resistance in the Roman Empire, mostly because its adherents refused to comply with the demands of the Roman state—often even when their lives were threatened—by offering sacrifices to the pagan gods. Despite persecution, skepticism, and initial social stigma, the Christian Church spread, particularly following the conversion of Emperor Constantine I in 312 AD.

The first known use of the phrase “the catholic Church” (he katholike ekklesia) occurred in a letter written about 110 AD from one Greek church to another (Saint Ignatius of Antioch to the Smyrnaeans). The letter states: “Wheresoever the bishop shall appear, there let the people be, even as where Jesus may be, there is the universal [katholike] Church.”[52] Thus, almost from the beginning, Christians referred to the Christian Church as the “one, holy, catholic (from the Greek καθολική, ‘according to the whole, universal'[53]) and apostolic Church”.[20] The Eastern Orthodox Church claims that it is today the continuation and preservation of that same early church.

A number of other Christian churches also make a similar claim: the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion, the Assyrian Church and the Oriental Orthodox. In the Eastern Orthodox view, the Assyrians and Orientals left the Orthodox Church in the years following the Third Ecumenical Council of Ephesus (431) and the Fourth Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon (451), respectively, in their refusal to accept those councils’ Christological definitions. Similarly, the churches in Rome and Constantinople separated in an event known as the East–West Schism, traditionally dated to the year 1054, although it was more a gradual process than a sudden break.

To all these churches, the claim to catholicity (universality, oneness with the ancient Church) is important for multiple doctrinal reasons that have more bearing internally in each church than in their relation to the others, now separated in faith.

The Catholic Church shared communion with the Eastern Orthodox Church until the East–West Schism in 1054, disputing particularly the authority of the pope. Before the Council of Ephesus in AD 431, the Church of the East also shared in this communion, as did the Oriental Orthodox Churches before the Council of Chalcedon in AD 451; all separated primarily over differences in Christology. In the 16th century, the Reformation led to Protestantism also breaking away. From the late 20th century, the Catholic Church has been criticised for its teachings on sexuality, its doctrine against ordaining women, and its handling of sexual abuse cases involving clergy

Wiki on Catholic Chruch


The prophet Muhammad (in 670-632 CE) crafted the scriptures of the Quran. The religion of Islam’s origin dates back to Mecca, around the 7th century. By the 8th century, the Umayyad Caliphate extended itself into the Islamic Golden Age, from the 8th to 13th century (around 800 AD).