Saturday, September 5, 2009
A History of God
A History of God: the 4000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
© 1993 Karen Armstrong
I checked this out in early 2006 but quickly lost interest after encountering the Sumerian mythology that Armstrong introduces the book with. After breaking through this, I found A History of God to be a quite readable and informative history of the three Abrahamic religions, covering their initial origins and then tracking their development through the centuries, devoting separate chapters to the religions' response to mystics and the philosophic God of the Greeks. Armstrong is interested in what the idea of God has meant for people whose culture has been partially formed by the Abrahamic faiths, although she connects the book's narrative to a greater human story by comparison and contrast to Hinduism and Buddhism. Armstrong's voice seems fair: I can imagine no objections raised against her treatment of the faiths except from ardent inerranists or anti-religionists. The book is a thorough and readable take on the intellectual, philosophical, and theological histories of two of the world's largest religions and their progenitor.