Throughout the ages, adherents of religious traditions from around the world have set apart certain writings and teachings as special, calling them scriptures, sacred texts, or classics. And they have developed particular approaches to reading these texts.
Today the Quran is used by some to justify war and acts of terrorism, the Torah to deny Palestinians the right to live in the Land of Israel, and the Bible to condemn homosexuality and contraception.
Historical events have long been the standard lens through which scholars have sought to understand the theology of Christianity in late antiquity. The lives of significant theological figures, the rejection of individuals and movements as heretical, and the Trinitarian and christological controversies—the defining theological events of the early church—have long provided the framework with which to understand the development of early Christian belief.
W. H. Auden, T. S. Eliot, William Golding, Elizabeth Jennings, C. S. Lewis, Flannery O'Connor, Stevie Smith, Barbara Pym, Marilynne Robinson, R. S. Thomas. . . These are among some of the great poets and novelists whose struggles with faith finds expression in their works, and whose works have helped countless readers to appreciate the different forms that faith can take in different times and places.
At the age of 27, alone in Jerusalem in the wake of a painful divorce, Ilana Kurshan joined the world’s largest book club, learning daf yomi, Hebrew for “daily page" of the Talmud, a book of rabbinic teachings spanning about 600 years and the basis for all codes of Jewish law. A runner, a reader and a romantic, Kurshan adapted to its pace, attuned her ear to its poetry, and discovered her passions in its pages.
From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of God: A Biography, an erudite, hugely informative portrait of the God of Islam, the world's second largest, fastest-growing, and perhaps most tragically misunderstood religion.
Who is Allah? What makes Him unique?
Why is religion still around in the twenty-first century? Why do so many still believe? And how do various traditions still shape the way people experience everything from sexuality to politics, whether they are religious or not? In Why Religion? Elaine Pagels looks to her own life to help address these questions.