Download A History of God: the 4000-year quest of Judaism, by Karen Armstrong PDF

By Karen Armstrong

"An admirable and bold paintings of synthesis that may provide perception and pride to hundreds of thousands of lay readers."THE WASHINGTON submit booklet WORLDIn this stunningly clever booklet, Karen Armstrong, considered one of Britain's most efficient commentators on spiritual 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 trendy age of skepticism, Karen Armstrong plays the close to miracle of distilling the highbrow historical past of monotheism into one beautifully readable quantity, destined to take its position as a vintage.

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Additional info for A History of God: the 4000-year quest of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam

Example text

Finally God unleashed the most terrible plague of all: he sent the Angel of Death to kill the first-born sons of all the Egyptians, while sparing the sons of the Hebrew slaves. Not surprisingly, Pharaoh decided to let the Israelites leave but later changed his mind and pursued them with his army. He caught up with them at the Sea of Reeds but God saved the Israelites by opening the sea and letting them cross dry-shod. When the Egyptians followed in their wake, he closed the waters and drowned the Pharaoh and his army.

It would, however, have had a clear message for the people of the ancient Middle East, who were used to gods splitting the seas in half. Yet unlike Marduk and Baal, Yahweh was said to have divided a physical sea in the profane world of historical time. There is little attempt at realism. 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.

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. These stories of epiphanies expressed the holistic pagan vision: when the divine was not essentially distinct from either nature or humanity, it could be experienced without a great fanfare.

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