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God: A Human History Reprint Edition
Contributor(s): Aslan, Reza

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ISBN: 0553394746     ISBN-13: 9780553394740
Publisher: Random House Inc
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Binding Type: Paperback
Published: April 2019
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Annotation: NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The bestselling author of Zealot and host of Believer explores humanity’s quest to make sense of the divine in this concise and fascinating history of our understanding of God.
 
In Zealot, Reza Aslan replaced the staid, well-worn portrayal of Jesus of Nazareth with a startling new image of the man in all his contradictions. In his new book, Aslan takes on a subject even more immense: God, writ large.
 
In layered prose and with thoughtful, accessible scholarship, Aslan narrates the history of religion as a remarkably cohesive attempt to understand the divine by giving it human traits and emotions. According to Aslan, this innate desire to humanize God is hardwired in our brains, making it a central feature of nearly every religious tradition. As Aslan writes, “Whether we are aware of it or not, and regardless of whether we’re believers or not, what the vast majority of us think about when we think about God is a divine version of ourselves.”
 
But this projection is not without consequences. We bestow upon God not just all that is good in human nature—our compassion, our thirst for justice—but all that is bad in it: our greed, our bigotry, our penchant for violence. All these qualities inform our religions, cultures, and governments.
 
More than just a history of our understanding of God, this book is an attempt to get to the root of this humanizing impulse in order to develop a more universal spirituality. Whether you believe in one God, many gods, or no god at all, God: A Human History will challenge the way you think about the divine and its role in our everyday lives.

Praise for God

“Timely, riveting, enlightening and necessary.”HuffPost

“Tantalizing . . . Driven by [Reza] Aslan’s grace and curiosity, God . . . helps us pan out from our troubled times, while asking us to consider a more expansive view of the divine in contemporary life.”—The Seattle Times

“A fascinating exploration of the interaction of our humanity and God.”Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“[Aslan’s] slim, yet ambitious book [is] the story of how humans have created God with a capital G, and it’s thoroughly mind-blowing.”—Los Angeles Review of Books

“Aslan is a born storyteller, and there is much to enjoy in this intelligent survey.”San Francisco Chronicle
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
God.
BISAC Categories:
- Religion | History
- History | World
- Religion | Comparative Religion
Dewey: 211
LCCN: 2017034711
Academic/Grade Level: General Adult
Book type: Non-Fiction
Physical Information: 8.00" H x 5.00" W x 0.75" (0.50 lbs) 298 pages
 
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Contributor Bio(s): Reza Aslan is an acclaimed writer and scholar of religions whose books include No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam and Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth. He is also the author of How to Win a Cosmic War: God, Globalization, and the End of the War on Terror (published in paperback as Beyond Fundamentalism), as well as the editor of Tablet & Pen: Literary Landscapes from the Modern Middle East. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and three sons.

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2017 October #2)

Aslan (Zealot) addresses ideas about the nature of deities in this wide-ranging work that traces the history of divine beings from the beliefs of humans' earliest ancestors to contemporary assumptions. The book showcases Aslan's signature style—verging on academic but always accessible—and his methodological agnosticism as he sets aside claims of truth about "God" in order to explore theories on how humans have come to believe in gods, humanize them, deify humanity, and conceive of gods across the ages. Aslan is adept at translating serious academic theory into lay-reader friendly prose, but he also shares his own perspective as a person of faith and advocates for a renewed pantheism—though he says it can be called by many names. In making his case for pantheism, he barely mentions the voices of Hindu traditions, lesser known pantheistic philosophies, or specific indigenous traditions that have long held beliefs similar to those he advocates. Despite these issues, any general reader interested in religion will find much to learn about how the idea of God or gods has evolved and changed according to geographical, economic, political, and social contexts. Agent: Elyse Cheney, Cheney Agency. (Nov.)

Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly.
 
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