Roberto's Reviews > A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam

A History of God by Karen Armstrong
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's review
Feb 19, 2012

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Read in December, 2011

This book is very interesting. It covers the evolution of the perception of God through the ages in the mind of religious authorities but more interestingly in groups not very well represented in the western common historic tradition and so obscure and distant to us that the modern world makes the most unaccurate interpretation of these characters. Examples of this analysis are the Old Testament prophetic mindset in the judaic tradition, the islamic mystics and the mentality of polytheistic societies. This by the way was one of my favorite parts, but not very well documented, at least for this book.

One thing I really liked about the book is that at the end, you won't have the monolithic version of the current form that the big monotheistic religions try to trasmit. I'm not talking about the pseudo-history of hidden truths, but real and valid forces that had a rise and then decline inside these religions. This gives you the historic sensation of how human psychology arrives at the same ideas in different ages in a sort of thought evolutionary convergence. Believe me. If you read this book you will realize that whatever variation on this mattter you have thought, somebody has, in a serious way.

The reason I give it 3 stars is because from the title I expected one subject covered that is not even remotely mentioned, and this is, the evolution of the conception of divinity in the common people through history. What did think those of us who are not philosphers, theologists, mystics or religious authorities? What about politicians? This perception, use and misuse of this, believe you or not in God, is a clear force in history for good or bad. At the end of the book you understand that this was not Armstrong intention in the first place, but with such a broad title, you would expect at least some insight on this matter and without a look to this, the book becomes a very arid -although interesting- voyage through history of ideas.

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