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A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of…

A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam (original 1993; edition 1994)

by Karen Armstrong

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6,08663992 (3.88)126
Title:A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam
Authors:Karen Armstrong
Info:Ballantine Books (1994), Paperback, 496 pages
Collections:Your library

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A History of God by Karen Armstrong (1993)

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Showing 1-5 of 61 (next | show all)
‘Human beings cannot endure emptiness and desolation: they will fill the vacuum by creating a new focus of meaning. The idols of fundamentalism are not good substitutes for God; if we are to create a vibrant new faith for the twenty-first century, we should, perhaps, ponder the history of God for somer lessons and warnings’

And so ends Karen Armstrong’s A History of God; the final chapter was entitled ‘Has God a future’ and for believers in God this will not sound a very optimistic note. A.N Wilson has been quoted as saying that this book is the most fascinating and learned survey of the biggest wild-goose chase in history - the quest for God. The History of God according to Armstrong seems to have been an attempt to know the unknowable.

Before her final two chapters which are both questions (The Death of God? and Has God a Future?) Armstrong takes the reader through the history of three monotheist religions; Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, she does this in some detail concerning herself with the history of religious thought, the sacred texts as they were received and the prominent men (nearly all men) who were the prophets, scholars and writers. Judaism being the oldest religion is given precedence in the early part of the book, but it gives the reader the background for christianity and then Islam. I found this early history interesting, but perhaps with too much detail, it took the emergence of Islam for the book to grab my intention. The history of the three religions is then brought up to date with chapters on philosophical thought, mysticism, attempts at reform and then finally the enlightenment.

The book has a glossary, notes, suggestions for further reading and a pretty good index and so it could make a decent reference book and I will keep it on my bookshelf to serve this purpose. All in all a bit too much history for me to enjoy the book as a read through experience, but it was the next book on my shelf to read. 3.5 stars. ( )
2 vote baswood | Jan 12, 2019 |
Two copies, one paperback and one hardback
  Herbert66 | Jan 2, 2019 |
Ah, well, this one took me a while to get through. Other reviews criticized the style of Armstrong's writing, and sadly, I have to agree with the general consensus here. Armstrong's writing was not the best, loaded with facts, it often comes off a bit too dry and heavy. This takes away from the readability of the book, and is the only reason I did not give it one or two more stars - it's dense.

The content of the book, however, is both rich and informative. Overwhelming at times, Armstrong's look at the three Abrahamic monotheistic religions is thorough and fascinating. She goes through great lengths to explain even some of the more minute details, and as an introduction to the evolution of religions overtime this text is vital.

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in religion in either a practicing manner or an anthropological one. This book sheds light on some of the more modern issues, and offers a historical perspective on how religion may prove helpful in the future. ( )
  Lepophagus | Jun 14, 2018 |
Another one I've "read at" as opposed to reading from page 1 to the end. ( )
  Kim_Sasso | Mar 14, 2018 |
History, geographic treatment, biography > Religion > Religion > Religion
  FHQuakers | Feb 12, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 61 (next | show all)
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As a child, I had a number of strong religious beliefs but little faith in God.
In the beginning, human beings created a God who was the First Cause of all things and Ruler of heaven and earth.
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From the back:

Why does God exist? How have the three dominant monotheistic religions - Judaism, Christianity, and Islam - shaped and altered  the conception of God?
How have these religions influenced each other? 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, form the time of Abraham to the present.
The epic story begins with the Jews' gradual transformation of pagan idol worship in Babylon into true monotheism - a concept previously unknown in the world. [Aside from Akenaton] Christianity and Islam both rose on the foundation of this revolutionary idea, but these religions refashioned "the One God" to suit social and political needs of their followers.
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.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0345384563, Paperback)

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

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:24 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Explores the ways in which the "idea" and "experience" of God evolved among monotheists--Jews, Christians and Muslims.

(summary from another edition)

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