By Karen Armstrong

"An admirable and bold paintings of synthesis that would provide perception and delight to millions of lay readers."THE WASHINGTON publish e-book WORLDIn this stunningly clever e-book, Karen Armstrong, considered one of Britain's most well known commentators on spiritual affairs, strains the historical past of ways women and men have perceived and skilled God, from the time of Abraham to the current. From classical philsophy and medieval mysticism to the Reformation, the Enlightenment, and the trendy age of skepticism, Karen Armstrong plays the close to miracle of distilling the highbrow historical past of monotheism into one beautifully readable quantity, destined to take its position as a vintage.

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They would certainly have believed in the existence of such deities as Marduk, Baal and Anat. They may not all have worshipped the same deity: it is possible that the God of Abraham, the 'Fear' or 'Kinsman' of Isaac and the 'Mighty One' of Jacob were three separate gods. {8} We can go further. It is highly likely that Abraham's God was El, the High God of Canaan. The deity introduces himself to Abraham as El Shaddai (El of the Mountain), which was one of El's traditional tides. {9} Elsewhere he is called El Elyon (The Most High God) or El of Bethel.

The sacred world of the gods - as recounted in myth - was not just an ideal towards which men and women should aspire but was the prototype of human existence; it was the original pattern or the archetype on which our life here below had been modelled. Everything on earth was thus believed to be a replica of something in the divine world, a perception that informed the mythology, ritual and social organisation of most of the cultures of antiquity and continues to influence more traditional societies in our own day.

3} He had instinctively expressed himself in the religious language of his time and culture: Babylon itself, the abode of the gods, was called 'Gate of the gods' (Bab-ili). Jacob decided to consecrate this holy ground in the traditional pagan manner of the country. He took the stone he had used as a pillow, upended it and sanctified it with a libation of oil. Henceforth the place would no longer be called Luz but Beth-El, the House of El. Standing stones were a common feature of Canaanite fertility cults, which, we shall see, flourished at Beth-El until the eighth century BCE.

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