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Where God Was Born: A Journey by Land to the Roots of Religionby Bruce Feiler
From the beginning of pre-history, human cultures have rooted sacred stories in actual landscapes, a legacy that becomes increasingly untenable as ballooning populations find it difficult to share their sacred places. Nowhere is this trend more evident than in the Middle East, where the world's three great monotheisms elbow-fight for the same hallowed hills, rocks, and rivers. While logic might suggest simply detaching the sacred from the temporal, Bruce Feiler suggests another solution. In Where God Was Born: A Journey by Land to the Roots of Religion Feiler recounts his travels through the actual places described in the Bible. In Israel, Iraq, and Iran he discovers not only the harsh beauty of the Biblical landscape, but also the complex stew of religious devotion, tribal loyalty, and cultural vitality that define the region. More importantly, he demonstrates that exploring the biblical terrain itself can reveal one of the Bible's fundamental truths: God is present in that holy place, in this sacred text, in her heart, but he is also much larger than any of these particulars, and far too large to be contained by any one religion.
Synopses & Reviews
At a time when America debates its values and the world braces for religious war, Bruce Feiler, author of the New York Times bestsellers Walking the Bible and Abraham, travels ten thousand miles through the heart of the Middle East — Israel, Iraq, and Iran — and examines the question: Is religion tearing us apart... or can it bring us together?
Where God Was Born combines the adventure of a wartime chronicle, the excitement of an archaeological detective story, and the insight of personal spiritual exploration. Taking readers to biblical sites not seen by Westerners for decades, Feiler's journey uncovers little-known details about the common roots of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and affirms the importance of the Bible in today's world.
In his intimate, accessible style, Feiler invites readers on a never-in-a-lifetime experience:
In Where God Was Born, Feiler discovers that at the birth of Western religion, all faiths drew from one another and were open to coexistence. Feiler's bold realization is that the Bible argues for interfaith harmony. It cannot be ceded to one side in the debate over values. Feiler urges moderates to take back the Bible and use its powerful voice as a beacon of shared ideals.
In his most ambitious work to date, Bruce Feiler has written a brave, uplifting story that stirs the deepest chords of our time. Where God Was Born offers a rare, universal vision of God that can inspire different faiths to an allegiance of hope.
"The third of Feiler's books on the Bible and the Middle East, this is another absorbing blend of travelogue, history, Bible commentary, memoir, current events and passionate preaching. In Walking the Bible (2001), Feiler surveyed the Torah. This sequel picks up with Joshua, first of the prophetic books, and follows Israel's story through the Hebrew scriptures: from the invasion of Canaan through the reigns of David and Solomon to the Babylonian captivity and the Diaspora. What differentiates Feiler from most other Bible commentators is that he actually visits the places he describes, despite Palestinian suicide bombers, Iraqi insurgents, Iranian fundamentalists and his very worried family back home. Readers will almost effortlessly learn a lot about antiquity — thanks again to his travel companion, archeologist Avner Goren — and also about recent history, today's headlines and Feiler's own spiritual journey. Enlarging on his vision of unity in Abraham (2002), he contends that the Bible's moral vision transcends land, power and nationality. 'The only force strong enough to take on religious extremism,' he concludes, 'is religious moderation.' For Feiler, now ready to affirm his Jewishness, this means 'willingly asserting your faith in public, not with raging fire but with a single, quiet flame.' Agent, David Black. 20-city author tour. (Sept. 13) " Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
Bruce Feiler is the New York Timesbestselling author of seven books, including Walking the Bible, Abraham, and Where God Was Born, as well as the host of Walking the Bibleon PBS. An award-winning author, journalist, and speaker, Feiler is a graduate of Yale and Cambridge Universities. He is a frequent contributor to NPR, CNN, and Fox News. He lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife and twin daughters.
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