Today, the Quran is used by some to justify war and acts of terrorism, the Torah to deny Palestinians the right to live in the Land of Israel, and the Bible to condemn homosexuality and contraception. The significance of Scripture may not be immediately obvious in our secular world, but its misunderstanding is perhaps the root cause of many of today's controversies.
In this timely and important audiobook, one of the most trusted and admired writers on the world of faith examines the meaning of Scripture. The sacred texts have been co-opted by fundamentalists, who insist that they must be taken literally, and by others who interpret Scripture to bolster their own prejudices. These texts are seen to prescribe ethical norms and codes of behavior that are divinely ordained: They are believed to contain eternal truths. But as Karen Armstrong shows in this chronicle of the development and significance of major religions, such a narrow, peculiar reading of Scripture is a relatively recent, modern phenomenon. For most of their history, the world's religious traditions have regarded these texts as tools that enable the individual to connect with the divine, to experience a different level of consciousness, and to help them engage with the world in more meaningful and compassionate ways.
At a time of intolerance and mutual incomprehension, The Lost Art of Scripture shines fresh light on the world's major religions to help us build bridges between faiths and rediscover a creative and spiritual engagement with holy texts.
"In her most profound, important book to date.... Both nonbelievers and believers will find her diagnosis - that most people now read scripture to confirm their own views, rather than to achieve transformation - on the mark.... This is an instant classic of accessible and relevant religious history." (Publishers Weekly starred review)
"In her latest, esteemed religion writer Armstrong...once again demonstrates her encyclopedic knowledge of the world’s religions.... Armstrong’s grasp of global religious history and thought is beyond impressive.... For those willing to travel this road with the author, the journey is expansive and worthwhile and will make them reconsider what scripture means to those who admire it. Excellent reading for religious scholars and students." (Kirkus Reviews)
"Formidable...serious and inspiring...exhilarating, challenging, and curiously comforting.... Written not only with intellectual rigor and an accessible turn of phrase, but also with love." (Prospect Magazine)