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The Case for God [DECKLE EDGE] (Hardcover)


Review
Praise for Karen Armstrong’s The Case for God

“Karen Armstrong’s book is simply superb. Wide-ranging, detailed, well researched meticulously argued and beautifully written, it is a definitive analysis of the role of religious belief and transcendence in our history and our life.”
—Dr Robert Buckman, author of Can We Be Good without God?

“Karen Armstrong, in writing The Case for God, provides the reader with one of the very best theological works of our time. It brings a new understanding to the complex relationship between human existence and the transcendent nature of God. This is a book that is so well researched and so deep with insight and soaring scholarship that only Karen Armstrong could have written it. The Case for God should be required reading for anyone who claims to be a believer, an agnostic or an atheist.”
—The Right Reverend John Bryson Chane, D.D., Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of Washington, D.C.

“No one is better qualified or more needed than Karen Armstrong to enter the hot public debate between believers and non–believers over the existence of God. Her latest book, eagerly awaited and received, rings out with the qualities she brings to all of her work—The Case for God is lucid, learned, provocative, and illuminating. Indeed, Armstrong once again does what she always does best by shining a clear light on the deepest mysteries of the religious imagination.”
—Jonathan Kirsch, author of The Harlot by the Side of the Road

“With characteristic command of subject and crispness, the prolific and redoubtable independent British scholar and former nun takes yet another run at the world’s religious history. . . . She’s conceptual, humanistic and exceedingly well-read. . . . [An] articulate and accessible sweep through intellectual history. The “unknowing” of the mystics has its virtues and its place, but being well-read and knowledgeable makes one powerful and persuasive book.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Celebrated religion scholar Armstrong creates more than a history of religion; she effectively demonstrates how the West (broadly speaking) has grappled with the existence of deity and captured the concept in words, art and ideas. . . . A brilliant examination. . . . [An] accessible, intriguing study of how we see God.”
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“The new book by premier contemporary historian of religion is a history of God. . . . Presenting difficult ideas with utter lucidity, this registers at once as a classic of religious and world history.”
—Ray Olson, Booklist (starred review)

“Armstrong offers a tour de force. . . . Highly recommended for readers willing to grapple with difficult but clearly articulated concepts and challenges to the ‘received’ ways of perceiving religion. A classic.”
—Carolyn M. Craft, Library Journal

“One of our best living writers on religion. . . . Prodigiously sourced, passionately written.”
—John Cornwell, Financial Times

“Karen Armstrong is one of [a] handful of wise and supremely intelligent commentators on religion. . . . As in so much of the rest of her hugely impressive body of work, Karen Armstrong invites us on a journey through religion that helps us to rescue what remains wise from so much that to so many . . . no longer seems true.”
—Alain de Botton, The Observer


Praise for Karen Armstrong

“Witty, informative, and contemplative: Ms. Armstrong can simplify complex ideas, but she is never simplistic.”
—Alexandra Hall, The New York Times Book Review

“Armstrong, with her astonishing depth of knowledge and readily accessible writing style, makes an ideal guide in traversing a subject that is by its very nature complex, sensitive and frequently ambiguous.”
—David Lazarus, San Francisco Chronicle

“Armstrong’s enviable capacity to summarize and explain . . . refreshes the understanding of what one knows, and provides a clear introduction to the unfamiliar.”
—Robert Runcie, The Weekend Telegraph

“Aloof and intelligent, she stands on the shore and gives a brilliantly lucid account of those capsizing, floundering and even drowning in the diving ocean. . . . Armstrong has a dazzling ability: she can take a long and complex subject and reduce it to its fundamentals, without over-simplifying.”
—Sister Wendy Beckett, The Sunday Times (London)

“Armstrong . . . writes with precision and lucidity, with an earnestness that keeps her from sounding smugly pedantic even in the midst of what is obviously a great deal of knowledge and insight.”
—Julia Keller, Chicago Tribune

“Arguably the most lucid, wide–ranging and consistently interesting religion writer today.”
—Laura Miller, Salon.com

Product Description
Moving from the Paleolithic age to the present, Karen Armstrong details the great lengths to which humankind has gone in order to experience a sacred reality that it called by many names, such as God, Brahman, Nirvana, Allah, or Dao. Focusing especially on Christianity but including Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Chinese spiritualities, Armstrong examines the diminished impulse toward religion in our own time, when a significant number of people either want nothing to do with God or question the efficacy of faith. Why has God become unbelievable? Why is it that atheists and theists alike now think and speak about God in a way that veers so profoundly from the thinking of our ancestors?

Answering these questions with the same depth of knowledge and profound insight that have marked all her acclaimed books, Armstrong makes clear how the changing face of the world has necessarily changed the importance of religion at both the societal and the individual level. And she makes a powerful, convincing argument for drawing on the insights of the past in order to build a faith that speaks to the needs of our dangerously polarized age. Yet she cautions us that religion was never supposed to provide answers that lie within the competence of human reason; that, she says, is the role of logos. The task of religion is “to help us live creatively, peacefully, and even joyously with realities for which there are no easy explanations.” She emphasizes, too, that religion will not work automatically. It is, she says, a practical discipline: its insights are derived not from abstract speculation but from “dedicated intellectual endeavor” and a “compassionate lifestyle that enables us to break out of the prism of selfhood.”

Remarkable, fascinating, mindshifting,, September 22, 2009
By Student of Life (USA)


Karen Armstrong is able to do two things which are individually remarkable, and in combination perhaps unique.
- provide a credible, erudite, historical overview of all the main religions in a way that shows how they fit together. ie. the key ideas they have borrowed from each other
- do so in a way which is vivid, accessible and often inspiring.

Some religious readers will be shocked to discover that "their" religion is based on ideas that are far more widespread than they may have realized. And they may be uncomfortable that the God Armstrong is arguing for is not one actively involved in day-to-day human concerns, checking off prayer requests or directing the weather, but deeper, mysterious, perhaps ineffable. Some non-religious readers will be shocked by how compelling a case Armstrong makes for a religious mindset based, not so much on "belief" or "faith" but on spirituality and compassion. But all, if they approach this book with an open mind, are likely to emerge with a richer understanding of life's most important questions.

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