Let's start with the Introduction, which is, thus far, the only section where I *haven't* felt the urge to beat my head against the desk/treadmill/wall.
Righty-o. First off, this book is apparently a part of a series called 'Books That Changed the World', all written by different authors, who, one must assume, are 'experts' in the field they were asked to cover. Or something like that.
Ms. Armstrong starts her introduction out: 'Human beings are meaning-seeking creatures.' To which I reply: duh.
There's some rambling about how language is important to our quest for patterns and meaning in our lives. How we use language to cause changes outside of ourselves, to manipulate the world around us.
I do like this sentence: 'When a word is spoken, the ethereal is made flesh; speech requires incarnation - respiration, muscle control, tongue and teeth.'
Ramble about how believers feel some sort of 'presence' when reading their sacred texts.
And, then a short bit about how scripture is being abused. Muslims terrorists using the Qur'an to justify their actions. Christian fundamentalists trying to suppress the teaching of evolutionary theory because it doesn't match up with the story of creation in the Bible. Jews using oppressive policies against the Palestinians because God promised Canaan to Israel. Those are the examples she gives when speaking of scriptural abuse. I'm...pretty sure that all of these things are not equal in their level of destructiveness. While I would never want evolutionary theory to be suppressed based on a six thousand year old creation story, it's a *skoshe* less diabolical than the other two, yes?
Hmmm...I do agree with her point that the literal interpretation of the Bible is a very recent development, around the 19th Century.
She claims that from the beginning the Bible had no single message. Biblical authors felt free to revise the texts they had inherited from prior generations to give them meanings that applied to their current circumstances. 'The Bible 'proved' that is was holy because people continually discovered fresh ways to interpret it and found that this difficult, ancient set of documents cast light on situations that their authors could never have imagined. Revelation was an ongoing process; it had not been confined to a distant theophany on Mount Sinai; exegetes continued to make the Word of God audible in each generation.'
On a *completely* unrelated note, I *just now*, right this very second, figured out what 'whiskey, tango, foxtrot' stands for. Goes along with 'alpha, mike, foxtrot'. Ah, fandom, you expand my horizons...
ALSO having nothing to do with either above points: Mythbusters, how I love you! If for no other reason than your entirely too amusing quotes: 'Guns are a part of our standard stock and trade on this show, and I gotta say I have some reservations about that. Because. Well, they kill people, and that's to be avoided.' - Jamie Hineman Chances are I shouldn't find this as amusing as I do. And yet.