A History of God

A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam by Karen Armstrong, Publisher: Ballantine Books, 1994, ISBN 978-0345384560

Reviewed by Lloyd Geering, SOF NZ Newsletter #5, December 1993.

Karen Armstrong has been a freelance scholar and broadcaster since 1982, having published a bestseller in 1981, describing her seven years as a Roman Catholic nun.

This book describes the way in which God has been perceived over a period of 4000 years, from Abraham to the present. It sketches the rise of monotheism in the Middle East and then traces the changes which took place in Jewish, Christian and Islamic thought. I know of no other book which has attempted anything like this. For anyone in the modern world who wants to talk about God this ought to be required preparatory reading.

In her two final chapters she observes that in Europe "there is a growing blankness where God once existed in the human consciousness" and discusses whether God has a future or whether humans will find a new focus of meaning.

The book has already been translated into several other languages and is to be issued in paperback in 1994. She was invited to give a lecture at the SoF Conference in Leicester this year; we now have an audio-tape of that lecture.

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