In this seminal account, acclaimed historian Karen Armstrong discusses the conception, gestation, and life of history's most powerful book. Armstrong analyzes the social and political situation in which oral history turned into written scripture, how this all-pervasive scripture was collected into one work, and how it became accepted as Christianity's sacred text. She explores how scripture came to be read for information and how, in the 19th century, historical criticism of the Bible caused greater fear than Darwinism.
The Bible: A Biography is a brilliant, captivating book, crucial in an age of declining faith and rising fundamentalism.
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©2007 Karen Armstrong; (P)2007 Tantor Media Inc.
"Who better [than Armstrong] to recount the history of the Bible?...Intriguing." (Publishers Weekly)
"Groundbreaking....Armstrong shows a depth of insight and transparent understanding of complex theological issues....[She is] simply one of the best writers ever on religion." (Library Journal)
This book was very thought provoking, but you should already know something about Bible history to get the most out of this listen, it is not an entry level book.
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.
Written by Karen Armstrong. Narrated by a robot.
I found this books good points came in how it covered the evolving context of religious beliefs to changes in relation to history and textual criticism. The author also draws connection to the controversies between scholarship and biblical literalists and different sects themselves.
You'll like the book. That is if you can handle hours of monotone speaking.
PS Although it doesnt come in audio form James Kugel, in my opinion, is still the best on covering, in well annotated detail, the old vs new understandings of the bible in his book "how to read the bible"
I don't think this book would make a movie.
The audio was very good. The book has many details that I think would be worth reading, but I learned a lot from this oral presentation. I think Karen Armstrong is a great historian, a great writer and great thinker. I've read some of her books and I think they open many doors to important knowledge that all human beings should have in order to have a better understanding of the meaning of religion and God that we are in urgency to posses to reevaluate our realtionship as human beings. I very much recomend this and all of Armstrong's books.
I was interested in this book because I wanted to learn more about how the Bible came to be. Since the subtitle pens it is a 'biography', I thought (silly me) that it would be an engaging account of the history of the book. Instead, this was a dry, almost clinical, account of the minutia of ancient Biblical history. The author, Karen Armstrong, seems to take delight in throwing verbose grammar at the reader, to the point that it obscures the message. If I wasn't driving while listening to this book I would want a dictionary to go along with it. The narrator does not help things, as she reads this book like a scientific research paper: dry--no, make that arid. I would only recommend this book if you are already a Biblical scholar; Armstrong goes into such rapid fire detail about such a vast expanse of history that it is impossible to follow the thread of the book unless you have a good grounding in the subject matter already. There must be a better, more engaging narrative out there on how the Bible came to be.
WARNING - A slap back echo effect has been added to the readers voice. It's a pity because it's very distracting and ruins an already weak delivery.
I found the narrator to be extremely hard to understand and that she read the book way too fast. and even when I did understand her, the language used in the book was not language used by everyday readers. I got the impression that the author was more interested in showing off her language skills than trying to write a book that could be understood by us common folk.
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