All three religions revolve around a body of scriptures, some of which are considered to be the word of God — hence sacred and unquestionable — and some which are the work of religious men, revered mainly by tradition and to the extent that they are considered to have been divinely inspired, if not dictated, by the divine being.
The sacred scriptures of Judaism are the Books of Moses or Torah, the writings of the prophets, and other books such as Book of Proverbs and Book of Psalms. Together these consistute the Hebrew Bible or Tanakh. These are complemented and supplemented with collected rabbinical writings, Talmud. The Hebrew text of the Tanakh, and the Torah in particular, is considered holy, down to the last letter: translations or transcriptions are frowned upon, and its copying is done with painstaking care.
The sacred scriptures of most Christian sects are the Old Testament, which is largely the same as the Hebrew Bible; and the New Testament, comprising four accounts of the life and teachings of Jesus, traditionally attributed to his apostles Matthew, Mark, Luke, and, John (the Four Gospels); and several writings by the apostles and early fathers such as Paul. Thogether these comprise the Christian Bible. Thus Christians consider the fundamental teachings of the Old Testament, in particular the Ten Commandments, as still valid; however they believe that the coming of Jesus, as told in the New Testament, has profoundly changed the relationship between God and mankind — by placing universal love and compassion above the other commandments, by voiding the more material precepts of rabbinical law (such as the dietary constraints and temple rites), and by transferring to his apostles the task of spreading the word of God.
Unlike the Jews, Christians generally do not consider a single version of their Bible as holy to the exclusion of the others, and accept good translations and re-translations as being just as valid in principle as the original. They recognize that the Gospels were only set to paper many decades after the death of Jesus and his apostles, and that the extant versions are only copies of those originals. Indeed, the version of the Bible which is considered to be most valid (in the sense of best conveying the true meaning of the word of God) has varied considerably: the Greek Septuagint, the latin Vulgate, the English King James Bible, and the Russian Synodal Bible have been authoritative to different communities at different times. In particular, Christians usually consult the Hebrew version of the Old Testament when preparing new translations, but many believe that the Septuagint translators probably knew Biblical Hebrew better than any person living today.
The Christian Bible sacred scriptures are complemented by a large body of writings by Christian priests and scholars, which in general are not considered holy or binding; and various precepts by the religious authorities of some sects, such as the Catholic Pope, which are considered divinely inspired and binding by members of those sects.
Islam has only one sacred book, the Quran, comprising 114 Chapters (surat). According to the Quran itself, these were revealed by Archangel Gabriel to prophet
Muhammad in separate occasions, and preserved as such by his disciples, until they were compiled into a single book (not in chronological order) several decades after his death.
The Quran includes several stories from the Jewish Bible (chiefly in Sura 17, The Children of Israel), and mentions Jesus many times as a divinely inspired prophet. However the detailed precepts of the Tanakh and of the New Testament are not adopted outright; they are replaced by the new commandments given directly by Allah to Muhammad and codified in the Quran.
Like the Jews, Muslims consider the original Arabic text of the Quran holy to the last letter, and any translations or "modernized" versions are considered to be dangerously misleading if not heretical.
Like the Hebrew Bible, the Quran is complemented by the Hadith, a set of books by later authors that interpret and elaborate its precets. The Hadith are considered binding by most Muslims, although some are disputed by certain sects.
Main article: Millennialism
In the three major religions, there exists the await of an individual which will herold the end of the world, and bring about the Kingdom of God on Earth. Judaism awaits the coming of the Messiah, Christianity awaits the Second Coming of Christ, Islam awaits the coming of Mahdi (Sunniss in his first incarnation, Shiass the return of Muhammad al-Mahdi).