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The Bible: The Biography (BOOKS THAT SHOOK THE WORLD) [Kindle Edition]

Karen Armstrong
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The Bible is the most widely distributed book in the world. Translated into over two thousand languages, it is estimated that more than six billion copies have been sold in the last two hundred years alone. In this seminal account, Karen Armstrong traces the gestation of the Bible to reveal a complex and contradictory document created by scores of people over hundreds of years.

Karen Armstrong begins her analysis with the origins of the very earliest books of the Hebrew Bible, in which God was called both 'Yahweh' and 'Elohim'. She then traces the development of both the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament to reveal the disparate influences that helped to form these sacred texts. From the Jewish practice of Midrash and the Christian cult of Jesus; to the influence of Paul's letters on the Reformation and the manipulation of Revelations by Christian fundamentalism, Armstrong explores the contexts in which these sixty-six books were understood and explains the social needs they answered. In the process she reveals an unfamiliar and paradoxical work that will permanently alter our understanding of the Bible.

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More About the Author

Karen Armstrong is one of the world's leading commentators on religious affairs. She spent seven years as a Roman Catholic nun in the 1960s, but then left her teaching order in 1969 to read English at St Anne's College, Oxford. In 1982, she became a full time writer and broadcaster. She is a best-selling author of over 15 books. An accomplished writer and passionate campaigner for religious liberty, Armstrong has addressed members of the United States Congress and the Senate and has participated in the World Economic Forum.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Challenging but Worth It 25 Jan. 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Ms Armstrong is a former nun whose first memoir, Through the Narrow Gate, I've enjoyed reading (twice). I've been rather wary of reading her other books as she no longer identifies herself as a Christian and I know my weaknesses. I'm easily led, especially by a persuasive piece of writing. Curiosity won on this occasion and I'm very glad it did.

The Bible is not an easy read. I read the Kindle version and was very glad to have the integrated dictionary to help me. Even so, I had to re-read some parts, look words up more than once, and still accept there were bits and pieces flying over my head. I don't see this as a failing on the author's part, however - she's writing for a scholarly audience and pitches her vocabulary and argument to suit.

Ms Armstrong traces the development of what we know as `The Bible' right through history, piggy-backing her narrative on the history of Islam, Judaism and Christianity. Throughout the book, she shows how the Bible has shaped these faith and, indeed, how they have shaped it. She finishes with a stinging criticism of modern-day fundamentalism to which she offers a sane-sounding alternative: The Bible should be read with those of other faiths and, most importantly, with charity.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Introduction 28 Feb. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a very good introduction to the Bible. It looks at the history of the different texts, how they were composed and how they slowly but surely became part of the Hebrew Scriptures and later, the Christian Bible. It treats both scholarship and tradition with respect. Although the author's view is on the Christian scriptures, she also treats the connection with other religions with equal respect.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable 28 Jun. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
Astonishingly well researched and beautifully written. My only slight criticism would be that boundary between myth and reality is sometimes not very clear.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommend it for a succinct and well referenced overview of ... 3 Mar. 2015
By Ashok - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Clear, well written book that makes for compelling reading. Highly recommend it for a succinct and well referenced overview of the subject.
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