SPIRITUALITY & RELIGION

The Lost Art of Scripture: Rescuing the Sacred Texts

Knopf. Nov. 2019. 624p. ISBN 9780451494863. $35. REL
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Prolific writer and defender of religious belief Armstrong (ambassador, United Nations Alliance of Civilizations; The Case for God) calls for a return to the lost art of reading scripture not as static teachings, but as living documents that need to be responded to and applied in appropriate ways to current events. The author’s vast knowledge of world scriptures comes through on every page, as does her belief that all scripture reading must lead to compassion. The majority of the book looks at how scripture has been read or misread over the years. In a final chapter, Armstrong calls for exegetes who study the meaning of scripture to apply its lessons to contemporary issues, such as global warming. As with her previous books, Armstrong fiercely and eloquently argues that religion is not an evil, but rather a promoter of understanding and kindness.
VERDICT A scholarly yet accessible study of world scriptures, and an elegant argument for embracing them as they have traditionally been read. This will appeal to those who view scripture as a life-giving resource that enhances instead of restricts readers’ understanding to literal interpretation. [See Prepub Alert, 5/13/19.]

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