Karen Armstrong   A History of God: The 4000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
Knopf, 460 pages, $27.50

reviewed by Marc M. Arkin

In the interests of full disclosure, I should say that any book whose first chapter prominently features the words “holistic” and “empowerment” has a heavy burden to surmount with this reviewer. This is particularly the case when the subject under discussion is Semitic religion before the eighth century B.C. Karen Armstrong’s new book, A History of God, both incurs and utterly fails to overcome that burden.

Subtitled “The 4000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam,” A History of God is billed as a comparative study of how adherents of these religions have described their experience of the divine over the course of history. It seeks to accomplish this end largely...

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