Karen Armstrong’s A History of God is a great read for anyone interested in religion and its effect on societies and collective human psychology. She takes the reader on a historical tour of the three major “Abrahamic” faiths – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam – and traces their development through the ages. We hear of a wide range of religious experiences, past and present: the shatteringly transcendent experiences of the Israelite prophets; the calm, expansive consciousness of Sufi mystics; the agony and zealousness of the Protestant reformers; the cool skepticism of rationalists; and what they have meant for people’s lives. She focuses her study on several different ways of conceiving of the idea of “God” that have persisted throughout the history of monotheism, and concludes it with a thoughtful discussion on what, if any, idea of “God” is a healthy one for modern people to engage with. I recommend this book to believers and skeptics alike who share a curiosity about how we handle the daunting yet alluring practice of making sense of the vast world beyond the bounds of our ordinary consciousness.
You know, just some light summer reading.
This book is available in the Greenfield Library Open Stacks, at 291.211 Ar57h 1994