Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Great Transformation: The Beginning of Religious Traditions

I literally found Karen Armstrong's book on the street (Park Avenue in the 70s), with the name of an Upper East Side over-privileged girl-child inscribed on the front of the dust jacket in black felt-tipped pen. Her underlinings stop on page 5.
I have just finished the book. It took some patience, but Armstrong is a truly engaging writer. The mere fact of the phenomenon of the Axial Age when Judaism, Greek religions, Hinduism, Confucianism, Daoist, and Buddhism (and soon after Christianity and Islam) are evolving all at the same time is extraordinary in itself. The most familiar to me were the Greeks; the least were the Chinese. The most engaging were the Jews- I had no idea that there were Jews still worshipping gods other than Yahweh long after they reached Canaan.

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