“The Lost Art of Scripture: Rescuing the Sacred Texts” by Karen Armstrong— Scripture and Significance

Armstrong, Karen. “The Lost Art of Scripture: Rescuing the Sacred Texts”,  Knopf, 2019.

Scripture and Significance

Amos Lassen

“Today the Quran is used by some to justify war and acts of terrorism, the Torah to deny Palestinians the right to live in the Land of Israel, and the Bible to condemn homosexuality and contraception. The significance of scripture may not be immediately obvious in our secular world, but its misunderstanding is perhaps the root cause of many of today’s controversies.”
Today, the sacred texts have been taken over by fundamentalists, who demand that they must be taken literally, and by others who interpret scripture for their  own prejudices. While these texts are seen to prescribe ethical norms and codes of behavior that are divinely ordained: they are believed to contain eternal truths. However, Karen Armstrong shows in this look at the development and significance of major religions, such a narrow, peculiar reading of scripture is a relatively recent and modern phenomenon. For most of their history, the world’s religious traditions have regarded these texts as tools that allow the individual to connect with the divine, to experience a different level of consciousness, and to help them engage with the world in meaningful and compassionate ways.

Here we look at the world’s major religions to help us build bridges between faiths and rediscover a creative and spiritual engagement with holy texts. Both nonbelievers and believers will find that today most read scripture to confirm their own views, rather than to achieve transformation.

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