I spend all my driving time listening to free audio lectures or free audiobooks. Here are some free audiobooks (97 so far) about religion, most of them from Librivox. Below you will find scriptures, treatises, sermons, epic poems, and scientific surveys about religion from nearly every century since 700 BCE.
Please comment if you know of any others. I will add more as they are recorded.
Last update: November 6, 2010.
The Christian Old Testament (c. 600-300 BCE) by many authors (World English Bible translation)
page | download | running time: 58:02:02
The Jewish Bible, edited and rearranged by Christians for their own purposes. The World English Bible is a readable, public domain translation based on the 1901 American Standard Version, the Greek Majority Text, and the Hebrew Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia.
The Sayings of Confucius (c. 400 BCE) by Confucius
page | download | running time: 3:11:55
Confucianism may be a religion or merely a moral philosophy, but this “Bible of Confucianism” is one of the most influential books in history.
Christian New Testament (c. 60-110) by many authors (World English Bible translation)
page | download | running time: 19:20:46
A collection of early Christian writings that were chosen in the 4th century to be the scriptures of orthodox Christianity (in addition to the “Old Testament”). The World English Bible is a readable, public domain translation based on the 1901 American Standard Version, the Greek Majority Text, and the Hebrew Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia. These 27 books are holy scripture for 1.9 billion Christians worldwide.
The Epistles of Ignatius (c. 95) by St. Ignatius of Antioch
page | download | running time: 1:17:16
Like Paul, Ignatius wrote these letters to early Christian churches (Ephesians, Magnesians, Trallians, Romans, Philadelphians, and Smyrnaeans). He also wrote to Polycarp on his way to martyrdom. These are some of the earliest Christian writings not accepted to the New Testament canon.
First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians (c. 96) by Pope Clement I
page | download | running time: 1:22:25
One of the earliest Christian writings, accepted in many canons of the New Testament until the 8th century. Hugely important for the development of Christian doctrine.
The Didache (c. 100) by unknown
page | download | running time: 0:19:56
Early instructions for Christian communities. Historians knew about it because it was quoted by other early Christian authors, but the full text was not rediscovered until 1873.
The Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians (c. 125) by Polycarp
page | download | running time: 0:14:56
Polycarp, an early bishop and Christian martyr, supposedly knew John the Apostle. This is his letter to the church in Philippi.
The First Apology of Justin Martyr (c. 150) by Justin Martyr
page | download | running time: 2:09:43
The purpose of the Apology is to prove to the emperors, renowned as upright and philosophical men, the injustice of the persecution of the Christians, who are the representatives of true philosophy.
Odes of Solomon (c. 250) by Unknown
page | download | running time: 1:46:20
A collection of 42 religious psalms attributed to Solomon, but actually written by Christians in the first three centuries C.E.
The City of God (c. 415) by Augustine of Hippo
page | download | running time: 40:27:16
Written shortly after Christian Rome was sacked by the Visigoths in 410. Augustine argued that Christianity would ultimately triumph. The book presents human history as being a conflict between what Augustine calls the City of Man and the City of God.
Revelations of Divine Love (1373) by Julian of Norwich
page | download | running time: 7:20:02
A book of Christian mystical devotions. While Julian was recovering from serious illness, she experienced 16 visitations on the Passion of Christ and the Virgin Mary.
The Imitation of Christ (c. 1418) by Thomas a Kempis
page | download | running time: 8:42:03
A manual on how to read the Christian scriptures, how to submit to authority, how to deal with adversity, and how to resist temptations.
The Praise of Folly (1509) by Desiderius Erasmus
page | download | running time: 3:42:49
A satirical essay about the absurdities of Catholic doctrine. A catalyst for the Protestant Reformation. It was put on the Index of Forbidden Books by in 1559, so you know it’s gotta be good.
The Large Catechism (1529) by Martin Luther
page | download | running time: 5:46:56
A compilation of works by the leader of the Protestant Reformation, perhaps the greatest schism in all of religious history.
Conceptions of Divine Love (c. 1577) by Teresa of Avila
page | download | running time: 0:59:13
Apparently a heretical work, as one of her confessors read it and told her to burn it, which she did. But one of the nuns had already copied several of the chapters, preserved here.
Foxe’s Book of Martyrs Vol. 1 (1653) by John Foxe
page | download | running time: 10:29:32
An account of the persecutions of Protestants, many of whom had died for their beliefs within the decade immediately preceding its first publication.
Leviathan (1651) by Thomas Hobbes
pages: 1 2 | download: 1 2 | running time: 22:27:37
A philosophical treatise on the structure of society and legitimate government. Parts III and IV deal more directly with religion than Parts I and II.
Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners (1666) by John Bunyan
page | download | running time: 3:49:34
An autobiography from the author of Pilgrim’s Progress. Records Bunyan’s struggle to find repentance and forgiveness, his battle with Satan’s temptations of unbelief, his comfort found in the Bible, and his overarching victory gotten by the grace of God.
The Practice of the Presence of God (c. 1700) by Brother Lawrence
page | download | running time: 1:13:14
A collection of letters and conversations compiled by a disciple of Brother Lawrence. One of the most popular Christian advice books in history.
Autobiography of Madame Guyon (1710) by Madame Guyon
page | download| running time: 15:23:42
The autobiography of a famous French mystic who was imprisoned by the catholic church for her heretical views on prayer.
A Dialogue between a Methodist and a Churchman (1760) by William Law
page | download | running time: 1:34:26
William Law uses a dialogue to engage what he considers to be the most dangerous doctrines in Methodist theology, especially predestination and absolute depravity.
The Age of Reason (1807) by Thomas Paine
page | download| running time: 8:11:05
Paine’s critiques of institutional religion and the doctrine of Biblical inerrancy launched a short-lived deistic revival.
On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection (1859) by Charles Darwin
page | download | running time: 24:22:37
Not a religious book, but religions have reacted so strongly to Darwin’s theory (but not other successful scientific theories like relativity, big bang theory, quantum electrodynamics, or chemical periodicity) that many or most popular discussions of the work involve religion.
God and the State (1871) by Mikhail Bakunin
page | download | running time: 3:13:30
Anarchist Mikhail Bakunin’s unfinished work on the origins of religion and how the state and religion conspire to enslave the common people.
Myths and Legends of Ancient Greece and Rome (1880) by E.M. Berens
page | download | running time: 11:23:55
A comprehensive collection of all the major and minor gods of Rome and Greece, with descriptions of festivals and retellings of major mythological stories.
Lectures of Col. R. G. Ingersoll, Vol. 1 (c. 1880) by Robert Green Ingersoll
page | download | running time: 14:08:08
A spirited orator for freethought, Ingersoll here reveals the absurdities of gods, ghosts, hell, and other religious ideas.
As a Man Thinketh (1902) by James Allen
page | download | running time: 0:54:07
Illustrates the power of thought to increase personal capabilities – an important Christian self-help precursor to the New Thought movement.
The People’s Idea of God (c. 1904) by Mary Baker Eddy
page | download | running time: 0:29:02
Eddy, the founder of the Christian Science movement, tried to reform popular conceptions of the Supreme Being.
God’s Troubadour, The Story of St. Francis of Assisi (1910) by Sophie Jewett
page | download | running time: 2:30:13
A children’s telling of the story of St. Francis, who became a knight but, after seeing the tragedies of war, gave up all possessions and violence for God.
Legends of the Jews (1911) by Louis Ginzberg
pages: 1 2 | download: 1 2 | running time: 25:06:35
Two volumes of Ginzberg’s epic 7-volume compilation of traditional Jewish stories loosely related to the Bible. Over the millenia, these stories, which expand on the Bible, flesh out the lives of biblical figures.
Mysticism: A Study in Nature and Development of Spiritual Consciousness (1911) by Evelyn Underhill
page | download | running time: 22:03:40
Hailed at the time as the classic work on mysticism from the point of view of metaphysics, psychology, and symbolism.
The Making of a Nation: The Beginning of Israel’s History (1912) by Charles Foster Kent
page | download | running time: 5:05:59
Kent was the premiere scholar of Jewish history near the turn of the century, and this work chronicles the origins of Israel.
Sadhana, the Realisation of Life (1913) by Rabindranath Tagore
page | download | running time: 04:26:02
A series of essays describing Indian beliefs, philosophy and culture from different viewpoints, often making comparisons with Western thought and culture.
Buddhism and Buddhists in China (1924) by Lewis Hodus
page | download | running time: 3:06:10
An anthropological text describing Buddhism as practiced in China at the beginning of the 20th Century. It also compares Buddhism with Christianity regarding missionary work.
The Meaning of the Glorious Koran (1930) translated by Mohammed Marmaduke Pickthall
page | download | running time: 16:28:14
An explanatory English translation of the Koran, the holy book of Islam’s 1.5 billion adherents, which was written by Mohammed and compiled around the year 633.
Mere Christianity (1952) by C.S. Lewis
page | download | running time: 5:50:23
A Christian classic from a former atheist that lays out his case for Christianity and explains its core virtues.
Bible Stories Your Parents Never Taught You (c. 2000) by Mike Earl
page | download: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 | running time: 7:35:00
Performed by the author. Covers the violent and nasty parts of the “Good Book.”
Universally Preferable Behaviour: A Rational Proof of Secular Ethics (2007) by Stefan Molyneaux
page | download: 1 2 | running time: 5:45:00
A free audiobook performed by the author, on how to derive ethics without gods. (See my review.)
Free audiobooks in progress
- Various – The Christian Bible, King James Version (c. 600 BCE to 120 CE)
- Various – The Christian Bible, American Standard Version (c. 600 BCE to 120 CE)
- Various – The Christian Deuterocanon, Douay-Rheims Version (c. 400-100 BCE)
- Various – The Christian New Testament, Twentieth Century Version (c. 60-110)
- Thomas Aquinas – Summa Theologica (1274)
- Martin Luther – Commentary on St Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians (1519)
- George Herbet – The Temple (1633)
- Thomas Jefferson – The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth (c. 1820)
- Leo Tolstoy – What I Believe (1886)
- James Talmage – The Great Apostasy (1909)
Public domain religion books I wish were being recorded
Want to help record a public domain book? You can read, proof-listen, or volunteer in other ways. Here are some public domain books about religion I’d like to see recorded:
- Unkown – Enuma Elish (600 BCE)
- Josephus – Antiquities of the Jews (94)
- Athanasius – Festal Epistles (367)
- Baruch Spinoza – Theologico-Political Treatise (1670)
- Isaac Taylor – History of the Transmission of Ancient Books to Modern Times (1827)
- Ethan Allen – Reason, the Only Oracle of Man (1854)
- Friedrich Max Müller – A History of Ancient Sanskrit Literature So Far as it Illustrates the Primitive Religion of the Brahmans (1859)
- Frederic Henry Hedge – Reason in Religion (1865)
- John William Draper – History of the Conflict Between Religion and Science (1874)
- James Martineau – A Study of Religion, Its Sources and Contents (1888)
- Jean-Marie Guyau – The Non-religion of the Future (1897)
- Adolf Erman – A Handbook of Egyptian Religion (1907)
- Max Arthur Macauliffe – The Sikh Religion (1909)
- J. A. MacCulloch – The Religion of the Ancient Celts (1911)
- Gilbert Murray – Four Stages of Greek Religion (1912)
- Durant Drake – Problems of Religion (1916)
- L.W. King – Legends of Babylon and Egypt in relation to Hebrew tradition (1916)
- James George Frazer – Folk-lore in the Old Testament (1919)
- John Gresham Machen – The Origin of Paul’s Religion (1921)
- Alexandre Le Roy – The Religion of the Primitives (1922)
Last Few Updates:
- added Ellen White – Steps to Christ
- added James Talmage – The Great Apostasy
- added William James – The Varieties of Religious Experience
- added Albert Schweitzer – The Quest of the Historical Jesus