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I've had mixed luck with Karen Armstrong's books, but this is pretty readable; it's a potted history of theology in the three major monotheistic religions from early Old Testament times to the present day. I'm not an expert in the field, so didn't spot any inaccuracies, but basically she is able to convey fairly succinctly what key figures and traditions believed, and why we should care. She is particularly good at spotting contemporaneous and similar developments in the last 500 years or so in Christianity, Judaism and Islam; and I had not previously encountered the idea that the Young Turks were influenced by the post-Shabbetai Donmeh tradition. On the down side, there are a small number of figures who make Armstrong erupt in bile about their personal shortcomings - Martin Luther is an early and rather startling example - which distracts and detracts from the objectivity of her writing in 95% of the book. It's a bit of a dry subject but not a bad introduction to it.

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inulro
Apr. 15th, 2012 06:06 pm (UTC)
I read this book years ago. I was fascinated by the early chapters on the evolution of monotheism but lost interest some time in the middle ages. Which is my failing, not Armstrong's.
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