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In our increasingly secular world holy texts are at best seen as irrelevant and at worst as an excuse to incite violence hatred and division So what value if any can scripture hold for us today And if our world no longer seems compatible with scripture is it perhaps because its original purpose has become lostToday we see the uran being used by some to justify war and terrorism the Torah to deny Palestinians the right to live in the Land of Israel and the Bible to condemn homosexuality and contraception The holy texts at the. This is a mishmashThe New Testament and uran were routinely revised since ancient times and their message dramatically reinterpreted to meet the needs of the ever present The art of scripture erased the past because the sacred text is known to be the Word of God and it had to conform to the moral rules set in ancient times Hence Muslims are practicing the moral and social norms of ninth century Arabian Desert and the uran and Hadith are used to justify acts of Jihad terrorism as a religious duty Muslim women deeply believe that God wants them to cover their head and Christians use the Gospel of John 316 to recklessly convert others into the Christian faith Force coercion savagery and war was used to enforce Christian beliefs The take home message from this book is mixed the author dwells on the role of myth how it evolved and why religions need it She takes us back to very ancient times about 40000 years ago Long before established religions came into existence to reconstruct the human faith systems The author is known for her work on Abrahamic faiths Old and New Testaments and Islam Her analysis of Hinduism covered mainly in one chapter namely Chapter 2 falls too short for a good comparisons with religions of The Middle East The author lacks a comprehensive competence in the vast field of Hinduism The religious literature includes Vedas Upanishads the Epics the Puranas Bhagavad Gita and the six Hindu philosophical systems that articulate this most ancient faith system The earliest hymns of Rigveda are dated back to 1700 BCE The author s work focuses on commonalities of religions and employs the need for compassion and often invoke political correctness She is known to be overtly sympathetic to Muslims since they make the most demand from the Western societies to conform to Muslim sentiments and Islamic values

Characters ☆ E-book, or Kindle E-pub ☆ Karen Armstrong

The Lost Art of Scripture

Centre of all religious traditions are often employed selectively to underwrite arbitrary and subjective views They are believed to be divinely ordained; they are claimed to contain eternal truthsBut as Karen Armstrong a world authority on religious affairs shows in this fascinating journey through millennia of history this narrow reading of scripture is a relatively recent phenomenon For hundreds of years these texts were instead viewed as spiritual tools scripture was a means for the individual to connect with the divine. I arrived here after watching Karen Armstrong talking about scripture on TV on how its modern narrow and often misguided interpretation needs to be understood and redressed Certainly the first few pages set up this argument but then the text seems to veer off on a tangent leaving that very argument behind and losing its grip on a clear and solid interpretation There is some talk or neuroscience but this comes down to the difference between the left and right brain hemispheres which hardly clears anything up It is a pity because I think there is a real discussion to be had and having watched her talk I believe she has a lot to say but unfortunately this book doesn t really work for me

Karen Armstrong ☆ 9 Summary

To transcend their physical existence and to experience a higher level of consciousness Holy texts were seen as fluid and adaptable rather than a set of binding archaic rules or a ‘truth’ that has to be ‘believed’Armstrong argues that only by rediscovering an open engagement with their holy texts will the world’s religions be able to curtail arrogance intolerance and violence And if scripture is used to engage with the world in meaningful and compassionate ways we will find that it still has a great deal to teach u. Karen Armstong is recognized as one of the most respected religious scholars alive today She has a remarkable range of knowledge about the history of various religions including China India Judaism Christianity and IslamShe argues in this book that scripture in its origins was wedded to ritual and to art and its intent was to bring about kenosis the emptying of the self It was chanted sung and acted out long before it was written down and was intended to bring about an experience of the divine within In all of the faith traditions she enumerates one of the conseuences of the encounter with divinity was empathy and concern for others In agrarian societies however only a minority of people had the luxury and time to pursue this inner experience and there developed a priestly elite Over time as well the words were written down though still unavailable to the uninitiated Society moved from a period of mythos when the important truths were understood to be timeless to logos where the power was invested in words She describes this as the difference between the right brain mythos and the left brain logos In Greece theater was a form of worship and communal spiritual exploration I was particularly struck by the Prayer to Zeus p150 We must suffer suffer into truth We cannot sleep and drop by drop at the heart The pain of pain remembered comes again And we resist but ripeness comes as well From the gods enthroned on the awesome rowing bench There comes a violent loveAs societies entered the modern period the characteristics of the left brain took precedence over those of the right brain and scripture came to be taken literally leading to an unhealthy emphasis on literalism followed by scepticism Instead of interpreting scripture in the current context it was taken to be literally true and the ability to use it to achieve kenosis was lost Though she doesn t mention him Julian Jaynes work on the origin of consciousness fits in well here By forcing the sacred into a wholly rational mode of thought that was alien to it and by reading their scriptures as factual Europeans had made religion unviable p403 She sees this as a grave error Throughout this book we have seen that scripture is incarnational It must enter the mind and body of the prophet or sage who receives and recites it as well as the interpreter who explores its meaning The Word must somehow be made flesh p442 Scripture always drew on the past to give meaning to the present Its message was never cast in stone p457 and Unlike science scripture always had a moral dimension and was essentially a summons to compassionate altruistic action and that it issue positive practical action p457Armstrong describes these trends taking place in all of the major religions and provides copious historical detail to support her argument She also gives illustrations of how art sometimes continues to re interpret scripture in modern context just as scripture originally did The examples she uses here are mostly literary such as Thomas Mann s tetralogy on Joseph


10 thoughts on “The Lost Art of Scripture

  1. says:

    “In many ways we seem to be losing the art of scripture in the modern world Instead of reading it to achieve transformation we use it to confirm our own views – ether that our religion is right and that of our enemies wrong or in the case of sceptics that religion is unworthy of serious consideration Too ma

  2. says:

    This is a mishmashThe New Testament and uran were routinely revised since ancient times and their message drama

  3. says:

    This is a remarkable telling of the history of man's desire to commune with his creator how it has been attempted or accomplished from early man to present day with the thread of leftright brain activity This book is fille

  4. says:

    Karen Armstrong is a profound thinker writer and historian I felt like I understood about half of what she wrote b

  5. says:

    Perhaps the most conspicuous thing about Karen Armstrong's new book The Lost Art of Scripture is that it is about twice as long as it needs to be This is not really surprising Most books are twice as long as they need to be But this one is really really twice as long as it needs to be If an editor had reuired her to cut 50% of it before publi

  6. says:

    I arrived here after watching Karen Armstrong talking about scripture on TV on how its modern narrow and often misguided interpretation needs to be understood and redressed Certainly the first few pages set up this argument but then the text seems to veer off on a tangent leaving that very argument behind and lo

  7. says:

    A lot of knowledge of the material here but I felt like Armstrong bit off than she could chew You get an overview of theology and scripture from

  8. says:

    Karen Armstrong for those unfamiliar with her work is a former nun and British writer who has written extensively on religion and religious the

  9. says:

    Karen Armstong is recognized as one of the most respected religious scholars alive today She has a remarkable range of knowledge about the history of various religions including China India Judaism Christianity and IslamShe argues in this book that scripture in its origins was wedded to ritual and to art and its intent was to bring about kenosis the ‘emptying’ of the self It was chanted sung and acted out l

  10. says:

    It is always a pleasure to read Karen Armstrong her clear prose and balance between scholarship and general interest I was particularly appreciative of how she used Iain McGilchrist's thesis to structure this work from The Master and His Emissary on neuroscience and the roles of the linear and literal left brain and the holistic right brainThere is no specific ‘God spot’ in the human brain that yields a sense of t