- ISBN13: 9780345384560
- Condition: NEW
- Notes: Brand New from Publisher. No Remainder Mark.
“An admirable and impressive work of synthesis that will give insight and satisfaction to thousands of lay readers.”
THE WASHINGTON POST BOOK WORLD
In this stunningly intelligent book, Karen Armstrong, one of Britain’s foremost commentators on religious affairs, traces the history of how men and women have perceived and experienced God, from the time of Abraham to the present. From classical philsophy and medieval mysticism to the Reformation, the Enlightenment, and the modern age of skepticism, Karen Armstrong performs the near miracle of distilling the intellectual history of monotheism into one superbly readable volume, destined to take its place as a classic.
Armstrong, a British journalist and former nun, guides us along one of the most elusive and fascinating quests of all time–the search for God. Like all beloved historians, Armstrong entertains us with deft storytelling, astounding research, and makes us feel a greater appreciation for the present because we better understand our past. Be warned: A History of God is not a tidy linear history. Rather, we learn that the definition of God is constantly being repeated, altered, discarded, and resurrected through the ages, responding to its followers’ practical concerns rather than to mystical mandates. Armstrong also shows us how Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have overlapped and influenced one another, gently challenging the secularist history of each of these religions. –Gail Hudson
A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam
5 thoughts on “A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam”
A reader from New England
ur right on
I was looking forward to this book.
What a waste!
Rating: 2 / 5
Years ago a fellow student, after being handed back an essay, said, “Dr. Robinson, I don’t believe this paper deserves an F”. Dr. Robinson’s quick reply was, “I don’t believe it does either, but that is the lowest grade I can give you”. I felt the same way about this book. I should have read the other reviews before I made the purchase, and I wouldn’t have to write this review. I suppose I am one of those hanging on to my guns and religion.
Rating: 1 / 5
This book would be more accurately titled “A History of Gods”, as it describes the “Gods” that were worshiped by ancient civilizations as well as today, including pagan idols. Unfortunately, the author lumps the living God of the bible in with the man made idols. To paraphrase the author, “God did not create man, but man created God”. I bought this book primarily to increase my understanding of my creator, and improve my understanding of the interpretation of God in other major religions. This author undermines the biblical God and the biblical word to such an extent that I could not trust her interpretation of any other religions either. This is definitely the most disappointing book I have ever bought!
Rating: 1 / 5
Karen Armstrong has incorporated the ideas of probably every blasphemous heretic that has ever lived in an epic, but futile attempt to discredit the Holy Bible and the God and Savior of the Bible, Jesus Christ.
And of course, it is praised by the enemies of God (e.g. the New York Times, the Washington Post, Liberals of every religious stripe, [even some Jews!]) as the greatest thing since sliced bread. But what else could we expect from those who hate the Savior?
“Likewise, truly these apostate dreamers also defile the flesh, despise authority, and speak evil of dignitaries. Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring against him a railing accusation, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.” But these speak evil of those things which they have never known; but what they know naturally, as stupid beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves. Woe unto them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah.” (Jude 3-11)
This book was the textbook for a class on Western religions in college. After I discovered that the class was nothing less than a Liberal brainwashing session to indoctrinate young people against the Bible, I quickly withdrew from the class, and gladly. Karen Armstrong and those who follow her ideas have only one destination, and that is the Lake of Fire. She will give an dreadful account to God for helping Satan turn innocent young minds away from the Way, the Truth, and the Life, which is Jesus Christ.
I wouldn’t touch this book or any class that uses it with a ten-foot pole. It is totally Satanic.
Rating: 1 / 5
“A History of God” by Karen Armstrong
The omissions and distortions of this author’s other work, “The Battle for God” made me skeptical of this book also. If Karen Armstrong titles a book “A History of God,” you can be sure that GOD, in any normative manner of understanding, is not going to be the subject of her book.
From the very beginning, the author begins to play fast and loose with both facts and language. For example, on page xx of the INTRODUCTION, despite the coy proclamation of the title, the author announces:
“This book will not be a history of the ineffable reality of God itself, which is beyond time and change.”—page xx, INTRODUCTION, “A History of God” by Karen Armstrong
One has to watch carefully for such contradictions with Armstrong. When she makes an assertion, you can almost invariably depend upon it to have either of two failings.
(1) The author will usually not support any claims with facts, evidence, or even a rationalism. The author simply declares a thing to be SO, because the author writes that it is SO. [CARTESIAN AFFLICTION]
(2) The author uses language in contradictory contexts. Subjective terminology is presented as though it were Objective evidence.
For example, what does the author mean by the following statement?
“Jesus Christ, about whom we talked far more than about “God,” seemed a purely historical figure, inextricably embedded in late antiquity.”—page xviii, INTRODUCTION, “A History of God” by author Karen Armstrong
What is the meaning by the term “HISTORICAL FIGURE”; and indeed, what is the rational distinction between a:
“HISTORICAL FIGURE” and a “PURELY HISTORICAL FIGURE”?
This is nonsense verbiage at its best. It doesn’t mean anything.
What is the meaning of the term: “EMBEDDED IN LATE ANTIQUITY”?
Armstrong’s book is rife with such irrational sentences. For Armstrong, to state that a historical person is EMBEDDED, is suggestive of a meaningful fact. In fact, it is not indicative of anything significant at all. It is fancy wordsmithing, and nothing more.
The nonsensicality is not apparent on a page here or there, willy-nilly. Such irrationalisms appear on nearly every page. For example:
“As I grew up, I realized that there was more to religion than fear.”—page xvii, INTRODUCTION, “A History of God” by author Karen Armstrong
This is the kind of redundancy, which, if produced in another context, such as an athletic event like baseball, would read something like:
AS I GREW UP, I REALIZED THAT THERE WAS MORE TO BASEBALL, THAN GETTING RIPPED OFF AT THE TICKET OFFICE!
With Armstrong however, the reader is in for the ultimate course in rocket surgery. There’s more.
“My ideas about God were formed in childhood and did not keep abreast of my growing knowledge in other disciplines.”—page xix, INTRODUCTION, “A History of God” by Author Karen Armstrong
Perhaps the author could find a more private and therapeutic medium to admit ideological development ended at childhood.
“Yet my study of the history of religion has revealed that human beings are spiritual animals.”–page xix, “A History of God” by author Karen Armstrong
The proposition, by reason, that an “ANIMAL” is “SPIRITUAL” is a contradiction in terms. It also serves as evidence for the Error of Ecclecticism. The author has a confused understanding of the principle of TAXONOMY, and is guilty of combining THEOLOGICAL assumptions and SCIENCE assumptions regarding the taxonomy of FAUNA which are both inimical and contradictory.
Then there are the quantum leaps, in which the author begins writing of herself as a PLURALITY. For example:
“Our ethical secular ideal has its own disciplines of mind and heart and gives people the means of finding faith in the ultimate meaning of human life that once were provided by the more conventional religions.”–page xix, INTRODUCTION, “A History of God” by author Karen Armstrong
This is about as FLUFFY and meaningless as language can get. It utterly begs questions. For example:
(1) Who is identified by the PLURAL possessive pronoun “OUR”?
(2) What is the meaning of the phrase, “ETHICAL SECULAR IDEAL”? What exactly is it, and where can it be studied?
(3) What indeed are the “DISCIPLINES OF MIND AND HEART? Where are these DISCIPLINES objectively identified?
(4) In the context of the author’s “ETHICAL SECULAR IDEAL” what are the “MEANS OF FINDING FAITH” and how are the MEANS objectively identified?
(5) In regard to the terminology in (4), the author indicates the existence of something referred to as “THE ULTIMATE MEANING OF HUMAN LIFE” but the author fails to objectively identify what that is, or where it is identified and studied.
(6) If the author is a member of a LESS “conventional religion,” does good scholarship not require that the subject be clarified? Of course it does; but Karen Armstrong reveals nothing of this. The author has mastered DOUBLE-SPEAK.
You see, Armstrong writes long about the most mundane issues of religion, and yet it obviously is not in the author’s interest to bring objective clarity to her own assumptions; for if she did, it would be seen to indicate a most egregious irrationality.
The author has an almost overwhelming ability to generate a never-ending stream of nonsense verbiage. Here’s an example:
“We shall see that it is far more important for a particular idea of God to work than for it to be logically or scientifically sound.”—page xxi, INTRODUCTION, “A History of God” by author Karen Armstrong
Armstrong never indicates where we are to find a “SCIENTIFICALLY SOUND” idea for God; but then, Armstrong never seems clear about the inablity of SCIENCE to identify the boundaries of God, the subject of which Armstrong herself identified on page xx of the INTRODUCTION as…”beyond time and change”.
So this entire book is like the Three Card Monte card game, in which the assumptions of Science, Religion, and Philosophy are all constantly shuffled in context, masquerading as some kind of HYPER-INTELLECTUALITY, which for the lack of any distinct sensibility or underpinning, runs rampant through the alleyways of confused ideation.
Armstrong fails in the field of scholarship on several identifiable issues:
(1) Failure to define her subject. No clear delineation is offered to distinguish between GOD and RELIGION.
(2) Failure to establish specific SCOPE & BOUNDARY of her subject.
(3) Failure to explain CONFUSING the classification system of TAXONOMY. The author defines man as a “spiritual animal” which is a confusion of TAXONOMY orders of BIOLOGY with the METAPHYSICAL realm of PHILOSOPHY.
(4) Failure to qualify shifts in writing in the First Person Singular to writing Third Person Plural; e.g. shifting from writing “I” to writing “WE” and “OUR” without qualification or specification.
(5) Failure to elevate her core assumptions beyond the CARTESIAN AFFLICTION.
[ It-Is-So-Because-I-Say-It-Is-So.] This is the common error in New Age authorship, and Armstrong provides a plethora of conclusions that are reached only by way of SELF-AUTHENTICATION.
Rating: 1 / 5