By Karen Armstrong
"An admirable and bold paintings of synthesis that would provide perception and delight to hundreds of thousands of lay readers."
THE WASHINGTON put up publication WORLD
In this stunningly clever booklet, Karen Armstrong, one among Britain's most efficient commentators on spiritual affairs, strains the background 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 fashionable 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 classic.
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Additional info for A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam
The Origins of Evil in Hindu Mythology. Berkeley: Uni‐ versity of California. Doniger O’Flaherty, Wendy. (1981). The Rig Veda: An Anthology, 108 Hymns Translated from the Sanskrit. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. (1988). Other Peoplesʹ Myths: The Cave of Echoes. New York: Mac‐ millan. Berkeley, California: University of California Press. Douglas, Mary. (1966). London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. ” The Read‐ ing Room: 4. ” New Yorker (September 24): 79‐80. Lifton, Robert J. (1986). New York: Basic Books.
On the other hand, we are equally inclined to naturalize morality: the Mahabharata includes adultery and the dishonor‐ ing of gurus among natural monstrosities, such as the birth of cats in dogs, goats speaking with the voices of jackals. But the mixing of natural and moral evil— equating adulterous women with rivers flowing upstream—is a similar monstrosity, expressed in literally mixed metaphors, half natural, half moral. The very strangeness (to us) of their monstrosity, however, simultaneously speaks to us with the fa‐ miliar surrealism of such dream images as the sound of attack‐ ing footsteps when no one is seen, and this eerie familiarity also makes us suspect that our own formulations may be, inevitably, equally monstrous, in their attempts to think the unthinkable as radical evil beggars imagination.
And when they were all dead, he predicted that a great flood, coming from the ocean, would inundate the city, and it did. Thus, at the end of the story, two things happen in quick succession: the human race is killed, while a god looks on, and then there is a natural flood that mimics the doomsday flood. But another Buddhist text (a part of the Buddhist canon, perhaps dating from the beginning of the Common Era) substitutes human error (that is, war) for the su‐ pernatural flood, replacing what we might call natural evil, the flood, with moral evil, human aggression and hatred.