Books on Religion

Discussion in 'Belief and Spirituality' started by LincolnSpector, Apr 22, 2014.

  1. LincolnSpector

    LincolnSpector Member

    Mar 24, 2014
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    I thought I'd recommend some of my favorite books about religion. I'd also, of course, like to hear your recommendations.

    Who Wrote the Bible? by Richard Elliott Friedman
    The title is misleading. It should be called Who Wrote the Torah, since it only covers what Christians call the Five Books of Moses. But it covers some fascinating detective work about how these books were probably written.

    The Jew in the Lotus by Rodger Kamenetz
    In the early 1990s, a group of very diverse American Jews traveled to the Dali Lama's home in exile in India, where they discussed their very different and yet similar religious views and practices.

    Founding Faith by Steven Waldman
    How the separation clause of the first amendment came to be. Waldman discusses the religious beliefs and laws of the 13 colonies, the religious history of several important founding fathers, and the politics behind getting the amendment through.

    Constantine's Sword by James Carroll
    A former priest who still considers himself Catholic, Carroll isn't afraid to criticize his own church. Primarily a history of Christian--and specifically Catholic--antisemitism, the book also covers his own religious upbringing. He finds a direct line between early Roman Christianity to the Holocaust, while acknowledging the many Catholics (and other Christians) who risked their lives to save Jews.

    I suppose I should also mention the books by Karen Armstrong--specifically The Battle for God (a history of fundamentalism in the Abrahamic religions) and A History of God (about how the concept of God has changed in those faiths over the centuries). These are fascinating subjects, and Armstrong knows as much about them as anyone.

    But I can't really recommend them for one reason: She is a horrible writer. Just terrible. Getting through every paragraph is a miserable challenge.

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