A History of God

A History of God

The 4000-year Quest of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam

Book - 1994
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Why does God exist? How have the three dominant monotheistic religions--Judaism, Christianity, and Islam--shaped and altered the conception of God? How have these religions influenced each other? In this stunningly intelligent book, Karen Armstrong, one of Britain's foremost commentators on religious affairs, traces the history of how men and women have perceived and experienced God, from the time of Abraham to the present.

The epic story begins with the Jews' gradual transformation of pagan idol worship in Babylon into true monotheism--a concept previously unknown in the world. Christianity and Islam both rose on the foundation of this revolutionary idea, but these religions refashioned 'the One God' to suit the social and political needs of their followers. From classical philosophy and medieval mysticism to the Reformation, Karen Armstrong performs the near miracle of distilling the intellectual history of monotheism into one superbly readable volume, destined to take its place as a classic.

Praise for History of God

"An admirable and impressive work of synthesis that will give insight and satisfaction to thousands of lay readers." --The Washington Post Book World

"A brilliantly lucid, spendidly readable book. [Karen] Armstrong has a dazzling ability: she can take a long and complex subject and reduce it to the fundamentals, without oversimplifying." -- The Sunday Times (London)

"Absorbing . . . A lode of learning." -- Time

"The most fascinating and learned study of the biggest wild goose chase in history--the quest for God. Karen Armstrong is a genius." --A.N. Wilson, author of Jesus: A Life
Publisher: New York : Ballantine Books, 1994
ISBN: 9780345384560
Branch Call Number: 291.211 ARMSTRO 1994
Characteristics: xxiii, 460 pages : maps ; 21 cm


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I found this book fascinating and it gave me a lot to think about. It is written by a highly educated ex-nun and it is an easy-to-read history about how three major religions evolved into believing in one god. Great for the layperson and I highly recommend it. (submitted by library customer N)

ezhurbin Nov 10, 2016

This book provides a comprehensive review of the origins and development of the idea of God in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The book covers a lot of ground, very readable, interesting and inspiring. It's a great starting point in the search for God and there is a list of further suggested readings in the end, which i found very useful. I've learned tons from this book and it inspired me to search for my own true beliefs.

Nov 20, 2013

All religions are derived from ancient Sun worship and astral events are turned into allegorical stories in them. Unfortunately, these comments are moderated in a way that no meaningful comments are allowed on this forum. Religious freedom means that everyone has the right to be fooled by their own particular religion, the pupose of which is control of the animal-like masses. This is why the church ceremony is called "mass" or "messe" (mess].

Nov 12, 2013

I am still going through the book, but Karen Armstrong is a delightful writer. As she is an agnostic, she retells the history of the developing understanding of the idea of God in the three main monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam, touching on Hinduism and Buddhism as well. It reads as an academic opinion rather than going to the extremes of conjecture.

It tells us that God, or at least the idea of it, has changed and evolved throughout the centuries, shaped according to culture, geography, history, and community.

This is my first book of her literature, and I am veritably impressed. I am sure that other agnostic theists (I am one) would also enjoy this book, with an open mind.

Dec 10, 2012

More correctly, the title should read: "A History of the Idea of God"

Jan 11, 2011

You must also read Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion.

Jan 10, 2011

You might also enjoy David Weddle's "Miracles", 2010.


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