By Karen Armstrong
"An admirable and bold paintings of synthesis that might supply perception and delight to millions of lay readers."THE WASHINGTON publish e-book WORLDIn this stunningly clever e-book, Karen Armstrong, certainly one of Britain's premiere commentators on spiritual affairs, lines the historical past of ways 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 resources for A History of God: the 4000-year quest of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
Despite my years as a nun, I do not believe that my experience of God is unusual. My ideas about God were formed in childhood and did not keep abreast of my growing knowledge in other disciplines. I had revised simplistic childhood views of Father Christmas; I had come to a more mature understanding of the complexities of the human predicament than had been possible in the kindergarten. Yet my early, confused ideas about God had not been modified or developed. People without my peculiarly religious background may also find that their notion of God was formed in infancy.
Since I shall be recording the thoughts and insights of people who called God 'he', I have used the conventional masculine terminology, except when 'it' has been more appropriate. Yet it is perhaps worth mentioning that the masculine tenor of God-talk is particularly problematic in English. In Hebrew, Arabic and French, however, grammatical gender gives theological discourse a sort of sexual counterpoint and dialectic, which provides a balance that is often lacking in English. Thus in Arabic al-Lah (the supreme name for God) is grammatically masculine, but the word for the divine and inscrutable essence of God - al-Dhat - is feminine.
They yearn towards God in prayer; believe that he is watching over them and will punish wrong-doing. Yet he is strangely absent from their daily lives: he has no special cult and is never depicted in effigy. The tribesmen say that he is inexpressible and cannot be contaminated by the world of men. Some people say that he has 'gone away'. Anthropologists suggest that this God has become so distant and exalted that he has in effect been replaced by lesser spirits and more accessible gods. So too, Schmidt's theory goes, in ancient times, the High God was replaced by the more attractive gods of the Pagan pantheons.