In 1965, at the tender age of seventeen, Karen Armstrong took vows of poverty and chastity and entered a Catholic convent. However, she soon realized she was not suited to monastic life and left. Her 1981 memoir of her years as a novice became a bestseller and transformed Armstrong overnight into a spokesperson for religious issues. In 1984, Armstrong made her first of many trips to the Middle East, birthplace to the world's three great monotheisms: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. What she found there startled her. More often than not, the people she met, whether Jewish, Christian, or Muslim, were mired in prejudice, deeply ignorant of religions other than their own. As curious as she was disturbed by this state of affairs, Armstrong set out to get to the bottom of things. She began serious scholarly research into the religious history of the Middle East, exploring the idea of God as it has evolved through these three religions over the past 5,000 years. This work has resulted in more than a dozen celebrated books, but greatest of these by far is A History of God (1993), in which she surveys the entire range and depth of her subject. Combining rigorous scholarship, genuine ecumenicalism, and an engaging prose style, A History of God has helped millions of Jews, Christians, and Muslims see through their differences and reach a deeper understanding of their respective faiths. Not bad for a failed nun. Farley, Powells.com
Armstrong's career began when she wrote and presented a documentary on the life of St. Paul, which aired on BBC's Channel Four. A former nun and one of the foremost authors writing on comparative religion, Armstrong has published over 20 titles. A History of God discusses the origins of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam and explains how our concept of God has changed throughout the course of history. It is fascinating to learn how politics, philosophy, and various schools of thought have changed the way we think about monotheism. Most of us don't spend much time considering where our ideas about God came from. In A History of God, Armstrong gives the reader a wealth of information in order to better understand the big picture. It's a meaty book, full of big ideas and well worth the read. Recommended By Mary Jo S., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
"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 philosophy 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.
In this stunningly intelligent book, one of Britain's foremost religious scholars distills the intellectual history of monotheism into one superbly readable volume, destined to take its place as a classic.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -436) and index.
About the Author
Karen Armstrong is the author of numerous books on religious affairs -- including , The Battle for God, Holy War, Islam, Buddha, The Great Transformation, and The Case for God -- and two memoirs, Through the Narrow Gate and The Spiral Staircase. Her work has been translated into forty-five languages. In February 2008 she was awarded the TED Prize and began working on the Charter for Compassion, created online by the general public and crafted by leading thinkers in Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism. The charter was signed in November 2009 by a thousand religious and secular leaders. She lives in London.