All things bookish!

The Bible

The Bible

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.

CymLowell

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Comments on: "Karen Armstrong – The Bible – 2011/003" (4)

  1. Sounds like an interesting book–but probably not for me. Thanks for your review!

    Stopping by from Cym’s 🙂

  2. I recently read another of Armstrong’s books earlier this year – The Battle For God, which was a history of fundamentalism in Christianity, Islam and Judaism. I was really impressed by her message of inter-religious tolerance, and she’s probably becoming one of my favourite writers as well.

    I might pick up The Bible at some point (though I suspect Twelve Steps might possibly veer a bit too close towards the self-help genre for me).

    I totally didn’t know that she doesn’t identify as Christian any longer, though!

    (I’m totally commenting about several of your posts at once!)

    • notjustlaura said:

      Hi R – Thanks for such a thoughtful comment. I have The Battle for God wishlisted so it’s great to hear a good report of it. I wouldn’t define Twelve Steps as self-help so far (I’m two or three chapters in) as the issues it addresses are so big rather than ‘How can I stop biting my nails?’ I think she defined herself as a ‘serial monotheist’ in the introduction to her first memoir but am not 100% sure where I read it. I’ll enjoy exploring your blog in turn 🙂

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