By Karen Armstrong
"An admirable and bold paintings of synthesis that may provide perception and pride to millions of lay readers."THE WASHINGTON submit booklet WORLDIn this stunningly clever e-book, Karen Armstrong, considered one of Britain's ideal commentators on non secular affairs, lines the historical past of the way women and men have perceived and skilled God, from the time of Abraham to the current. From classical philsophy and medieval mysticism to the Reformation, the Enlightenment, and the trendy age of skepticism, Karen Armstrong plays the close to miracle of distilling the highbrow heritage of monotheism into one beautifully readable quantity, destined to take its position as a vintage.
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Additional info for A History of God: the 4000-year quest of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
Our scientific culture educates us to focus our attention on the physical and material world in front of us. This method of looking at the world has achieved great results. One of its consequences, however, is that we have, as it were, edited out the sense of the 'spiritual' or the 'holy' which pervades the lives of people in more traditional societies at every level and which was once an essential component of our human experience of the world. In the South Sea Islands, they call this mysterious force mana; others experience it as a presence or spirit; sometimes it has been felt as an impersonal power, like a form of radioactivity or electricity.
The Roman Catholicism of my childhood was a rather frightening creed. James Joyce got it right in Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man: I listened to my share of hell-fire sermons. In fact Hell seemed a more potent reality than God, because it was something that I could grasp imaginatively. God, on the other hand, was a somewhat shadowy figure, defined in intellectual abstractions rather than images. ' Not surprisingly, it meant little to me and I am bound to say that it still leaves me cold. It has always seemed a singularly arid, pompous and arrogant definition.
The name of the Canaanite High God is preserved in such Hebrew names as Isra-El or Ishma-El. They experienced him in ways that would not have been unfamiliar to the pagans of the Middle East. We shall see that centuries later Israelites found the mana or 'holiness' of Yahweh a terrifying experience. On Mount Sinai, for example, he would appear to Moses in the midst of an awe-inspiring volcanic eruption and the Israelites had to keep their distance. In comparison, Abraham's god El is a very mild deity.
A History of God: the 4000-year quest of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam by Karen Armstrong