There are many Rasta Books on the web, but only a few are Sacred Rastafari Texts.
Do you want to know what those Sacred Rastafari Texts are?
Or do you want to learn more about why these Rasta Holy Books are so vital to them?
Rastavere is here to answer both of those questions.
The Rastafari faith is a somewhat secretive group. They consider “Western Society” to be corrupt, calling it “Babylon“.
Rastas see the biblical “Great Whore of Babylon” in Western banking, economics, religion, entertainment, fashion and government. Born in a colonial resistance movement, the Rastafari faith champions individual rights and a personal connection with the Divine.
Their codex of sacred Rastafari texts grew through the 19th and 20th Centuries, but some sources go back thousands of years.
Read on, and learn more!
Here is a list of Rastafari holy books. The most widely read Rastafari texts make up this list of Top 10 Sacred Rastafari Books. They are noted in Rasta history, and vital to any study of Rastafari beliefs.
What are Sacred Rastafari Texts?
Sacred Rastafari texts are a collection of books that some Rastafari consider Holy.
Rasta Holy books begin with the Holy Bible. However, Rastafari do not have just one religious book like most faiths; they have many sources to choose from.
In brief, Rasta holy books are sacred to them because they help connect Rastas to the Spirit of Jah Rastafari, and they were written by the prophets of their faith.
Building upon the stories in the King James Bible, sacred Rastafari texts recast the story of the Exodus and Diaspora as being the tale of Africans, the true Hebrews and heirs to the promise of a coming Messiah.
There can be some debate about which books are Canon, but no Rasta would dispute that the writings of H.I.M. Haile Selasse I, Marcus Garvey, Leonard Howell and Pastor Robert Rogers were prophetic.
1. King James Bible
By: Christian Art Publishers Published: 1611
The Holy Bible is the main source for Rastafari, because their faith takes most of its vital beliefs from the Old Testament and Gospels of the Christian Bible.
Unlike other Christian faiths, Rastas use the Old Testament name for GOD, usually spelled LORD in today’s Bible. Rastafari know that the ancient texts use Jah, short for Jehovah or Yahweh. However, the Rasta God, JAH, is not the same as the Christian God. Even though they use a biblical name for their God, they are not followers of the Old Testament Jehovah.
In fact, Rastafari believe that H.I.M. Haile Selassie I was God, as he was their Messiah, the returned Christ.
To understand their faith, you must start with the King James Bible, and many other sacred Rastafari books refer to it. The Holy Bible is considered Holy Scripture to all Rastafari.Buy Now on Amazon
2. The Holy Piby
By: Robert Athlyi Rogers Published: 2000
Have you ever asked what Bible do Rastafari read? To be sure, this is it.
The Holy Piby is also called the Black Man’s Bible and it is the main Rasta guidebook. Basically, it is a founding book of their faith.
However, you should know that there are several versions of the book.
Pastor Robert Athlyi Rogers wrote The Holy Piby between 1913-17, and published it in the 1920s. The original edition of this Rasta Holy book is very rare to find. So, if you obtain a copy of the original edition, hold on to it!
This Rasta Guidebook is without a doubt based on the Christian Bible. However, the text was altered to remove all the false ideas that Rogers believed were added by British royals when it was translated into English. In essence, Rogers argued, among other things, that Africans are God’s “Chosen People” as described in the Old Testament.
The truth is:
This was a very shocking idea, then and now. Such a concept upends centuries of tradition and belief.
In addition, this new version includes more texts by two other Rastafari authors. A must-have for your budding Rasta library.Buy Now on Amazon
3. The Royal Parchment Scroll of Black Supremacy
By: Fitz Balintine Pettersburg Published: 2003
The Royal Parchment Scroll of Black Supremacy is a Sacred Rastafari text because it was written by a proto-Rasta preacher.
Rastas revere this book as much as the Holy Piby. It is also viewed as a founding document of the Rastafari faith. Like the original edition of the Holy Piby, it is very rare to find an original copy of this book.
Rastas value this book because it explains a strong Afrocentric view and supports the struggle against the evil white colonial power structure of 1920s Jamaica. This is a great source of Rastafari dogma, another must-have and must-read.Buy Now on Amazon
4. The Promised Key
By: Leonard Howell Published: 1935
The Promised Key is a Rastafari tract by “the first Rasta” Leonard P. Howell, noted Jamaican preacher. Renowned as a Jamaican John The Baptist, he was a very well known figure in the early Rasta faith.
In this book, uncover his teachings, history and struggles as he fought the British crown and defined his faith in God.
This book covers notable moments, like the crowning of Haile Selassie I as “King of Kings”, his critique of the Vatican, the life of Empress Menen, the history of Ethiopia’s kingdom and the story of Solomon, spiritual notes on healing, fasting, government and some personal advice.
In fact, this book is an edited, much shorter version of The Royal Parchment Scroll of Black Supremacy, without the stream-of-consciousness language, long opaque abbreviations, and repetition.
There are several versions of this book in print. If you found it difficult to read Black Supremacy, you may find this an easier read. But make sure you read at least one, so you can see through the eyes of a Rasta pioneer.Buy Now on Amazon
5. Kebra Nagast (The Glory Of Kings)
By: Anonymous (Translation) Published: 1350
Without a doubt, The Kebra Nagast is one of many sacred Rastafari texts.
The author translated The Kebra Nagast from the ancient Ethiopian language (Ge’ez). This is an ancient document, written in the 1300s, and based on older secret histories.
In fact, this book presents the basis for an Ethiopian theocracy (the merging of church and state). Most importantly, this book documents Ethiopian oral traditions of the Queen of Sheba and her marriage to King Solomon.
In addition, this Sacred Rastafari Text connects with the King James version of the Bible. Unknown to many Westerners, several books were removed by royal decree from the 1611 King James version of the Bible. They are called “The Apocrypha”, and are mentioned here.
The Kebra Nagast is not merely a simple book. It is without a doubt the repository of Ethiopian national and religious heritage.
Meet Ras Tafari
This is a great Rasta book, giving you a better knowledge of Ethiopian church history. You will also gain a better view of the lineage of Ras (head/chief) Tafari Makonnen, Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie the First. Can you see why the faith was named Rastafari?
In brief, Rastas believe that Haile Selassie’s ancestors were the fabled King Solomon and Queen of Sheba. As a result, Rastas believe that His Imperial Majesty is the The Messiah. As foretold in Old Testament prophesy, Ras Tafari was “from the line of David” through Solomon. Jesus was also descended from David.
Here’s the deal:
To understands this modern faith, you need to journey to the past. With a copy of The Kebra Nagast, you can do just that, and discover some of Ethiopia’s ancient secrets.Buy Now on Amazon
6.The Wisdom of Rastafari
By: Haile Selassie Published: 2007
Rastas consider this book a sacred Rastafari text. In brief, it contains a collection of quotes from His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I.
This is a great book to own, because it contains the words of Haile Selassie himself, the returned Messiah. Rastafari around the world respect and honor His teachings. The Wisdom of Rastafari gives Rasta fans bite-sized quotes of wisdom and knowledge.
There are several versions of this book in print, and you should own at least one of them.Buy Now on Amazon
7. Selected Speeches of Haile Selassie I
By: Haile Selassie I Published: 2000
The Selected Speeches of Haile Selassie, is considered a sacred Rastafari text. It contains the words of our risen Savior. These speeches portray the Emperor’s vision for Africa and the world.
They detail the persistence, the determination, and the unflagging drive with which he pursued his “modern Ethiopianism”. These ideas went on to change the course of history.
Needless to say
Rastas cherish their Emperor’s idealism.
His views, coupled with his modern plans for his country, both at home and abroad, his courage in the face of Western colonialism, his staunch determination, his honest view of world events, his faith in humanity, and his moral strength all make this book a great source on modern Ethiopia.
This book allows believers a connection to the spirit of Jah Rastafari, because Haile Selassie speaks to Rastas in a way that only a true Rasta believer can understand. They want knowledge about his works and teachings. Rastas understand that value, which is why its sacred to them.Buy Now on Amazon
8. The Holy Bible: Jah International Version: The Sacred Scriptures of Rastafari
By: Henry Volk Published: 2017
The Rastafari Bible is an edition of the Holy Bible for Rastas. The Jah International Version (JIV) is a revision of the King James Version, which has a long history of use in Rastafari.
Additionally, the JIV restores the name of God (JAH) in both the Old and New Testaments.
This unique edition of the scriptures is not a renowned sacred text, however, it was written with a Rasta’s intentions in mind, and reflects their viewpoint.
Even though this book was published in recent years, it’s very hard to find a copy of this book. It is even harder to find than the other sacred Rastafari texts mentioned here.
We were only able to find a couple copies of this book in stock. So, if you want to obtain a copy of this Sacred Holy book, it may cost you a decent amount of money to explore the riches that this book has to offer.
Trust me, it’ll totally be worth it.Buy Now on Amazon
9. The Kebra Nagast: The Lost Bible of Rastafarian Wisdom and Faith from Ethiopia and Jamaica
By: Jerald Hausman Published: 1997
Similar to the Kebra Nagast (The Glory Of Kings), this version is slightly different. The publisher features an introduction by Ziggy Marley and the translation is by a different author.
However, the stories are the same, and they detail the love between King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba.
This is a sacred book to Jamaican Rastafari, and a must read for aspiring and current Rastas.Buy Now on Amazon
10. The Rastafari Ible 2nd Printing Edition
By: Jahson Atiba I. Alemu Published: 1996
This is a book that studies The Glory of Kings and The Utterance of Jah. The author of this books takes some of its context from the Kebra Nagast (discussed earlier). It entails the story and deeds of past Ethiopian leaders.
Most importantly, this is not an Ethiopian Bible. However, it is a great reference book if you want to better understand the roots of the Rastafari faith, like learning the history of Ethiopia as a Christian state, and the emergence of Ethiopian from it’s pre-Christianity history.
This is perfect to add to your collection of sacred Rastafari texts.Buy Now on Amazon
Make The Most of Your Sacred Rastafari Texts
There you have it. That was our list of Sacred Rastafari Texts. As you probably know by now, there are many text that Rastafari consider Sacred and Holy.
We recommend that you find a book that speaks to you.
Additionally, you will find that you that you’re able to purchase the books that we mentioned in this post by clicking on the “Buy on Amazon” button. Make sure to go through us if you decide to purchase any of the books that we mentioned here today.
You may find some books are harder to read than others, because they are a product of a different time. Perhaps you should find one that you can easily read and use as a spiritual guidebook. This will help bring you closer to the spirit Jah Rastafari in your everyday life.
We hope you have enjoyed this review of our Top Ten Sacred Rastafari Texts. Each offers you an in-depth study of an aspect of Rasta life, history, culture or beliefs.
If you liked this post, we suggest that you read our list of the Best Rastafari books.
Leave a comment in the section below, and let us know what you think.
Have you already read any of these? Which are you most excited to pick up?
Either way, leave a quick comment and tell us below!