The Lost Art of Scripture
An urgent review of the use and abuse of holy texts in today's world - and a call for understanding and compassion at a time when religion is viewed as a source of conflict.
'An amazingly wide-ranging book, showing that the world's religious texts can be a force for good today' John Barton, author of A History of the Bible
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. The Quran, the Torah and the Bible are often employed selectively to underwrite arbitrary and subjective views. They are believed to be divinely ordained; they are claimed to contain eternal truths.
But 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. Armstrong argues that only by rediscovering an open engagement with their holy texts will the world's religions be able to curtail arrogance and intolerance. And if scripture is used to engage with the world in more meaningful and compassionate ways, we will find that it still has a great deal to teach us.
'Magisterial. A dazzling accomplishment' New York Times
'Glorious. Armstrong is the most articulate and generous-hearted exegete of religion writing in English at the present time' A.N. Wilson, New Statesman
Praise for The Lost Art of Scripture
One of our best living writers on religionFinancial Times
'Karen Armstrong has written an amazingly wide-ranging book, showing that the world's religious texts can be a force for good today, rather than a cause of conflict. The scale of her knowledge never ceases to astonish'John Barton, author of A History of the Bible
Karen Armstrong is one of the handful of wise and supremely intelligent commentators on religionAlain De Botton
Karen Armstrong is a geniusA.N. Wilson
A triumph... Karen Armstrong is one of our great commentators on the sacred. In this book she explores the sacred texts with a scholar's eye and an illuminating clarity suggesting how much their wisdom and lasting power are still needed todaySalley Vickers
A remarkable book by a remarkable writer. the author's mission is urgent in the light of the uses to which the world's scriptures are sometimes putRev Dr Neil Richardson, Methodist Recorder
The Lost Art of Scripture. exhibits [Armstrong's] well-known and admired characteristics as a writer: an ability to be both authoritative on all the major faiths.a reasoned insistence that religion today is misunderstood, as much by the religious as by their critics; and a passionate appeal to our fractious and fractured world to embrace religion's core message.compassion and respect for othersPeter Stanford, Sunday Times
Exhilarating, challenging and curiously comforting. [The Lost Art of Scripture has] been written not only with intellectual rigour and an accessible turn of phrase, but also with loveLucy Winkett, Prospect
Rich and wide-ranging. [The Lost Art of Scripture] makes a fascinating read. a treasure chest of social and religious history. Armstrong's lucid prose makes her many-stranded story remarkably straightforward to follow. a learned and stimulating bookTeresa Morgan, Tablet
[The Lost Art of Scripture] takes us on a glorious journey. Armstrong is the most articulate and generous-hearted exegete of religion writing in English at the present timeAN Wilson, New Statesman
A fascinating excursion into neo-Gnosticism. Armstrong.has clearly done an enormous amount of reading and research to handle so skilfully the mass of material she surveysJack Carrigan, Catholic Herald
[Armstrong] weaves.[a] truly vast history into a coherent and fascinating narrative. an interesting and very well-written bookGavin Flood, Church Times
Magisterial ... a dazzling accomplishment, a reflection of an encyclopaedic knowledge of comparative religion and of a wisdom about spirituality in the human speciesNew York Times Book Review
An epic story with a polemical edge. [a] lucid account of the evolution of sacred text. The Lost Art of Scripture is an impressive achievement, presenting a wide sweep of global religious history in little more than five hundred pages. Armstrong is.an accomplished and fluent writerLiterary Review