The Bible: Book summary and reviews of The Bible by Karen Armstrong

The Bible

A Biography

by Karen Armstrong

The Bible

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Book Summary

As the work at the heart of Christianity, the Bible is the spiritual guide for one out of every three people in the world. It is also the world’s most widely distributed book, translated into over two thousand languages, and the world’s best selling book, year after year. But the Bible is a complex work with a complicated and obscure history. Made up of sixty-six “books” written by various authors and divided into two testaments, its contents have changed over the centuries. The Bible has been transformed by translation and, through interpretation, has developed manifold meanings to various religions, denominations, and sects. 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 nineteenth century, historical criticism of the Bible caused greater fear than Darwinism. This is a brilliant, captivating book, crucial in an age of declining faith and rising fundamentalism.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Readers unfamiliar with ecclesiastical history may feel overwhelmed by dense chapters that read more like annotated lists than narrative-a hazard of trying to cover so much in so little space." - Publishers Weekly.

"This is one terrific little book." - Booklist.

"Overshadowed by Armstrong's more ambitious A History of God (1993), but religion students will find this a worthwhile resource." - Kirkus Reviews.

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Author Information

Karen Armstrong Author Biography

Joe Pickering

Karen Armstrong, author, scholar, and journalist, is among the world's foremost commentators on religious history and culture.

She is the author of numerous books on religion, including The Case for God, A History of God, The Battle for God, Holy War, Islam, Buddha, and The Great Transformation, as well as a memoir, The Spiral Staircase. Her work has been translated into forty-five languages. In 2008 she was awarded the TED Prize and began working with TED on the Charter for Compassion, created online by the general public, crafted by leading thinkers in Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism. It was launched globally in the fall of 2009. Also in 2008, she was awarded the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Medal. In 2013, she received the British Academy'...

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