By Karen Armstrong

ISBN-10: 0345384563

ISBN-13: 9780345384560

"An admirable and bold paintings of synthesis that might supply perception and delight to millions of lay readers."THE WASHINGTON submit e-book WORLDIn this stunningly clever ebook, Karen Armstrong, considered one of Britain's most well known commentators on non secular affairs, strains 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 fashionable age of skepticism, Karen Armstrong plays the close to miracle of distilling the highbrow background of monotheism into one fantastically readable quantity, destined to take its position as a vintage.

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The gods and human beings shared the same predicament, the only difference being that the gods were more powerful and were immortal. This holistic vision was not confined to the Middle East but was common in the ancient world. In the sixth century BCE, Pindar expressed the Greek version of this belief in his ode on the Olympic games: Single is the race, single Of men and gods; From a single mother we both draw breath. But a difference of power in everything Keeps us apart; For one is as nothing, but the brazen sky Stays a fixed habituation for ever.

The Iliad is full of such epiphanies. The gods and goddesses appear to both Greeks and Trojans in dreams, when the boundary between the human and divine worlds was believed to be lowered. At the very end of the Iliad, Priam is guided to the Greek ships by a charming young man who finally reveals himself as Hermes. {10} When the Greeks looked back to the golden age of their heroes, they felt that they had been closely in touch with the gods, who were, after all, of the same nature as human beings.

When the Israelites recounted the story of the Exodus, they were not as interested in historical accuracy as we would be today. Instead, they wanted to bring out the significance of the original event, whatever that may have been. Some modern scholars suggest that the Exodus story is a mythical rendering of a successful peasants' revolt against the suzerainty of Egypt and its allies in Canaan. {15} This would have been an extremely rare occurrence at the time and would have made an indelible impression on everybody involved.

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A History of God: the 4000-year quest of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam by Karen Armstrong

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