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By Karen Armstrong

"An admirable and bold paintings of synthesis that might provide perception and delight to hundreds of thousands of lay readers."THE WASHINGTON put up e-book WORLDIn this stunningly clever publication, Karen Armstrong, one among Britain's greatest commentators on non secular affairs, lines the historical past 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 background of monotheism into one fantastically readable quantity, destined to take its position as a vintage.

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

Sample text

In recent years, feminists have understandably objected to this. Since I shall be recording the thoughts and insights of people who called God 'he', I have used the conventional masculine terminology, except when 'it' has been more appropriate. Yet it is perhaps worth mentioning that the masculine tenor of God-talk is particularly problematic in English. In Hebrew, Arabic and French, however, grammatical gender gives theological discourse a sort of sexual counterpoint and dialectic, which provides a balance that is often lacking in English.

Mystics have seen God incarnated a woman, for example. Others reverently speak of God's sexuality and have introduced a female element into the divine. This brings me to a difficult point. Because this God began as a specifically male deity, monotheists have usually referred to it as 'he'. In recent years, feminists have understandably objected to this. Since I shall be recording the thoughts and insights of people who called God 'he', I have used the conventional masculine terminology, except when 'it' has been more appropriate.

As soon as it ceases to be effective it will be changed - sometimes for something radically different. This did not disturb most monotheists before our own day because they were quite clear that their ideas about God were not sacrosanct but could only be provisional. They were man-made -- they could be nothing else - and quite separate from the indescribable Reality they symbolised. Some developed quite audacious ways of emphasising this essential distinction. One medieval mystic went so far as to say that this ultimate Reality - mistakenly called 'God' - was not even mentioned in the Bible.

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