I realize some who have never read anything about the historicity of the Bible may hear some words they have never encountered before. That said if you have read Armstrong before or historical discussions on the Bible this book was not difficult to follow.
The most important aspect of this book is in reality the comprehensive linear layout which is without doubt a very important historical contribution from Armstrong. I have not found a single source text that lays out the evolution of the various contents of the spiritual documents for the Hebrews and the Christians from antiquity to today. Most history type books such as the Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary present slices of the Bible but even that set of book doesn't take a reader all the way through the Bible to illuminate how it came together presented side by side by with the major historical factors.
Further the book is so very compact and therefore can be reviewed quickly and so enables the reader to see the trajectory for the evolving spiritual thinking. This vista which Armstrong reveals to us the laymen reader is virtually unparalleled in the history of those that have written these histories in the past. Personally I wish it had been longer so that even more details could have been exposed.
Finally I must confess that I am an Armstrong Fan to the core and therefore I admit I have some bias in what I read/listen to from this very insightful writer and researcher.
I bought this book as I wanted a historical review of the 1960s. I didn't care if the bias was positive or as this personal self serving diatribe turned out to be negative. The author never actually discusses the history. Instead using an artistic approach reminiscent of Saturday Night Live and their skits on bad English plays, the author only focuses on how immoral the main characters were in the 60s.
I mean really, they were immoral in the 1960s? I am stunned! Isn't that the definition of counter culture? I don't care how immoral these people were, just as one doesn't think of this when looking at a Caravaggio painting. It was what they did and how they did it which is of historical significance.
The author puts himself in the role of judge and jury as to what good and bad art is, good and bad spirituality is, etc. The approach could have worked if he had simply stopped telling us over and over again - immoral! I want the evidence so that I can make up my own mind. Not to be bashed repeatedly over the head with the authors opinion which already today badly shows dating!
I recommend not to buy this book unless you are of a mindset from the far right and want to hear the sixties described in terms such as detritus and the like. I must confess that despite my best efforts I was only able to listen to 100 minutes before deleting this so called "book."
The other reviews I have read showered praise on Stein for his book on writing. I guess they either write fiction or would like to in future. The topic of fiction is the focus for the bulk of the book. I downloaded the book for the nonfiction writing advice that the book claimed to contain. I downloaded the book for a project in nonfiction I am working on. I am not a author. The book does not address nonfiction unless you classify nonfiction as strictly the domain of biographical and journalistic types of writing.
There are many interesting things going on that have nothing to do with either of those two subjects. If I tried to apply Stein's information to my project I am confident it would produce a work for ideas set three decades into the past. Not what I sought. Therefore the book is a zero for me in terms of why I downloaded it. I give it two stars only becuase the fiction work in it could possibly help someone else.
I just wonder which nonfiction writers Stein thought would be his audience for this book? I would think biographical and journalistic writers would have had already had plenty of writing education. It is the rest of us who seek to write nonfiction that require help.
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