The Lost Art of Scripture: Rescuing the Sacred Texts, by Karen Armstrong.
In this timely and important book, one of the most trusted and admired writers on the world of faith examines the meaning of scripture.
The sacred texts have been coopted 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.
“[An] unusual, often dazzling, blend of theology, history, and neuroscience”—The New Yorker
“A penetrating look at scriptures . . . She writes with panache . . . There are always surprising bits of history and flashes of insight.”—Booklist
“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]