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

By Karen Armstrong

"An admirable and ambitious paintings of synthesis that may provide perception and pride to millions of lay readers."THE WASHINGTON publish e-book WORLDIn this stunningly clever ebook, Karen Armstrong, one in every of Britain's leading commentators on non secular affairs, lines the heritage 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 heritage of monotheism into one fantastically readable quantity, destined to take its position as a vintage.

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

Sample text

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.

Years later Jacob returned from Haran with his wives and family. As he re-entered the land of Canaan, he experienced another strange epiphany. At the ford of Jabbok on the West Bank, he met a stranger who wrestled with him all night. At daybreak, like most spiritual beings, his opponent said that he had to leave but Jacob held on to him: he would not let him go until he had revealed his name. In the ancient world, knowing somebody's name gave you a certain power over him and the stranger seemed reluctant to reveal this piece of information.

Later - we are not sure how, since our sources are incomplete - Baal is brought back to life and restored to Anat. This apotheosis of wholeness and harmony, symbolised by the union of the sexes, was celebrated by means of ritual sex in ancient Canaan. By imitating the gods in this way, men and women would share their struggle against sterility and ensure the creativity and fertility of the world. The death of a god, the quest of the goddess and the triumphant return to the divine sphere were constant religious themes in many cultures and would recur in the very different religion of the One God worshipped by Jews, Christians and Muslims.

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