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The Bible: A Biography (Books That Changed the World) [Paperback]

Our Price $ 12.71  
Retail Value $ 14.95  
You Save $ 2.24  (15%)  
Item Number 383219  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   302
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1" Width: 5" Height: 7.75"
Weight:   0.55 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Nov 1, 2008
Publisher   Grove Press
ISBN  0802143849  
EAN  9780802143846  

Availability  23 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 22, 2016 11:16.
Usually ships within one to two business days from La Vergne, TN.
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Item Description...
Examines the Bible's complex history, the social and political environment in which oral history became written scripture, how the various books were collected into a single volume, and its acceptance as Christianity's sacred text.

Publishers Description
As the single work at the heart of Christianity, the world's largest organized religion, the Bible is the spiritual guide for one out of every three people in the world. The Bible is also the world's most widely distributed book. Translated into over two thousand languages, it is estimated that more than six billion copies have been sold in the last two hundred years. It remains the best-selling book in the United States, year after year, with at least twenty-five million copies sold in 2005 alone. 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, life, and afterlife 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 "as the pragmatic scientific ethos of modernity took hold, scripture was read for the information that it imparted" and how, in the nineteenth century, historical criticism of the Bible caused greater fear than Darwinism. As she writes, "'If Jonah did not spend days in a whale, ' asked a Lutheran pastor, 'did Jesus really rise from the tomb?'" Karen Armstrong's history of the Bible is a brilliant, captivating book, crucial in an age of declining faithand rising fundamentalism.

Buy The Bible: A Biography (Books That Changed the World) by Karen Armstrong from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9780802143846 & 0802143849

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More About Karen Armstrong

Karen Armstrong

Karen Armstrong is the author of numerous books on religious affairs, including "The Case for God, A History of God, Holy War, Islam, Buddha," and "The Great Transformation." She lives in London.
In February 2008 Armstrong was awarded the TED Prize and began working on the Charter for Compassion, created online by the general public and crafted by leading thinkers in Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Confucianism, and Buddhism. The charter was launched in November 2009 and Armstrong is working with TED and the Compassionate Action Network to build an international network of Compassionate Cities dedicated to implementing the Charter realistically and practically into 21st century urban life. Other partners are working vigorously and creatively to promote the compassionate ideal in Pakistan and the Middle East.
The author invites you to start a "Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life" Reading Group in your community, school, or workplace. An Organizer s Guide, including tips for starting the group, discussion questions, sample promotional material, and more, can be found online at"

Karen Armstrong currently resides in London. Karen Armstrong was born in 1944.

Karen Armstrong has published or released items in the following series...

  1. Ballantine Reader's Circle
  2. Books That Changed the World
  3. Borzoi Books
  4. Eminent Lives
  5. Icons
  6. Modern Library Chronicles
  7. Myths
  8. New York Review Books Classics
  9. Penguin Lives Biographies

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Thank God !  May 21, 2010
I have prayed to God for months for answers to some of my questions. I am a New Christian, and not knowledgeable about the Bible. However, at times I felt disturbed by some verses I found overtly violent, agressive and sexist. After reading this book, I realize that I have been going to fundamendalist churches all this time. No wonder I had misgivings sometimes after listening to sermons.

I plan to give this book to each of my fundamentalist church friend. They are wonderful people who are very dedicated to the religion, but I really wish they could become more informed before passing judgement on others with different views about the Creator. Thank God for this book. Amen.
The World that Created the Bible and the World Created by It  May 11, 2010
"The Bible: A Biography" provides the reader with an overview of the life of the book that shaped the Western World. A book, like a person or a community has a life, a story of how it was created, used and the effects it has had on the culture which it nourished. The Bible's story is like no other.

Author Karen Armstrong leads the reader through the process which created the Bible. A work compiled over centuries, it is a blend of Old and New Testament traditions. Gradually the unconnected books came to be recognized as sacred and were collected into canons which were finally defined in early Christian centuries. As readers of my this site reviews are aware, I have read much about the Bible but this book still taught me new things. For example, I was unaware that the Gospels initially circulated anonymously before acquiring the names by which we know them today.

Karen Armstrong not only explains how the Bible was formed, but how it shaped the cultures that used it. We read about the role it played in the development of Post-Temple Israel, its influence on intellectual thought in the Middle Ages and how modern social movements draw inspiration and support for this book.

Although "The Bible" is short, it does give the reader a deeper appreciation of its subject. For someone, like me, who is knowledgeable about the Bible but not an expert, it educates without overwhelming.
A very important message  May 9, 2010
I have always admired the integrity and intelligence of Karen Armstrong and this book is another reason why I keep seeking her wisdom and knowledge in my effort to educate myself against the tragic exploitation of religions in our time. There is so much history to learn and the author teaches brilliantly (without obvious polemics or disrespect)the resons why understanding the religion in the context of history is relevant to the current states of the religions. The biographical format of the Bible, therefore is absolutely appropriate to contrast to the black and white, absolutism of fundamentalism. Her excellent skills in organizing multiple historical facts in coherent way makes reading easy and interesting. There are lessons---Exegesis should be done based on the principle of charity--Exegesis could never stand still, since the Bible represented an ongoing dialogue between God and humanity--reading scripture is an introspective process and life transforming....and selective exegesis(picking one text at the expenxe of the others) is shocking distortion of the Gospel.
The Allegorical vs The Literal vs The Rational  Mar 26, 2010
What I enjoyed about Ms. Armstrong's book is her dedication to giving a historical writing of how the Bible's sparse oral stories congealed into the book we have today. The author gives a dispassionate explanation of key moments in its gestation. It should be noted that Ms. Armstrong is not some anti-religious type with an ax to grind. She has dedicated her life to understanding the history of many different religions. It is very illuminating to see how the Bible, for most of its life, was viewed as allegorical and not a literal work. The book also clarifies why we have so many different sects as well as how the birth of science and rational thought caused upheaval in the original intent of the Bible. It was difficult for me, with a life steeped in rational thought, to look at key people in this narrative and not think that all these so-called spiritual interpreters were basically pulling illuminations out of their backsides. One thing's for sure. Fundamentalist, such as Pat Robertson's Reconstructionists, are a loooooong way from living the Golden Rule. A nice, small primer for curious people.
one of the most important books ever written about THE most important book ever written  Sep 28, 2009
Karen Armstrong's biography of the bible is part historiography and part geopolitical history. Her relatively short work (the earlier "History of God" is much longer) recounts the often strange and traumatic history of how and when the bible was cobbled together. She examines the historical circumstances surrounding the interpretation and reinterpretation of different books, accounts of genesis, psalms, etc. Besides recounting the various wars, diasporas, pogroms, and splits which served as the backdrop to biblical stories, she also launches a more detailed and, in my opinion, more interesting investigation into exegesis, the critical explanation or interpretation of the bible. For example, she explains the motivations behind certain prophesies in the bible by relating them to their historical context, and then details how, centuries later, stories were reinterpreted by the rabbinate seeking new explanations to new circumstances.

Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens have sought to, with their biting English wit, reinvigorate modern atheism. I recommend some of their books, especially Dawkins' "God Delusion," but I think Armstrong's work is an important counterbalance to the new forces of atheism. The main thrust of the work, the part which is most relevant to contemporary theological debate, insists upon the ever changing conceptions of god that can be found in the bible and among those who wrote about it. Many readers will find it surprising, no doubt, that some theologians centuries ago asserted that the world was obviously not created in 7 days. Her book is most revealing, and at its most interesting, when seeking to debunk the supposed conservative assertions of anglo-protestants who believe that Darwinian science is the enemy of religion. Her analysis of the worth of God ("The Case for God" is coming out within weeks) lies in God's ability to unleash the creative forces of interpretation in the religious. As she recounts the history of the bible, one cannot help but find amazement in the ability of humans to appropriate an idea, whether from the Jews, the Greeks, or Arabs of North Africa, and turn it, blatantly, to their favor. It is a curious aspect of modern day America that we must insist upon all truths being eternal and immutable. "The Bible: A Biography" goes a long way towards shaking the assumptions of both modern day atheists as well as anti-evolutionist evangelicals.


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