Fields of Blood

Religion and the History of Violence
eAudio - unabridged
Audio (20.10 hours)
Product Number: Z100078767
Released: Oct 28, 2014
Business Term: Purchase
ISBN: #9780553399318
Narrator/s: Karen Armstrong
Publisher: Books on Tape
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From the renowned and best-selling author of A History of God, a sweeping exploration of religion and the history of human violence. For the first time, religious self-identification is on the decline in American. Some analysts have cited as cause a post-9/11perception: that faith in general is a source of aggression, intolerance, and divisiveness-something bad for society. But how accurate is that view? With deep learning and sympathetic understanding, Karen Armstrong sets out to discover the truth about religion and violence in each of the world's great traditions, taking us on an astonishing journey from prehistoric times to the present. While many historians have looked at violence in connection with particular religious manifestations (jihad in Islam or Christianity's Crusades), Armstrong looks at each faith-not only Christianity and Islam, but also Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, Daoism, and Judaism-in its totality over time. As she describes, each arose in an agrarian society with plenty powerful landowners brutalizing peasants while also warring among themselves over land, then the only real source of wealth. In this world, religion was not the discrete and personal matter it would become for us but rather something that permeated all aspects of society. And so it was that agrarian aggression, and the warrior ethos it begot, became bound up with observances of the sacred. In each tradition, however, a counterbalance to the warrior code also developed. Around sages, prophets, and mystics there grew up communities protesting the injustice and bloodshed endemic to agrarian society, the violence to which religion had become heir. And so by the time the great confessional faiths came of age, all understood themselves as ultimately devoted to peace, equality, and reconciliation, whatever the acts of violence perpetrated in their name. Industrialization and modernity have ushered in an epoch of spectacular and unexampled violence, although, as Armstrong explains, relatively little of it can be ascribed directly to religion. Nevertheless, she shows us how and in what measure religions, in their relative maturity, came to absorb modern belligerence-and what hope there might be for peace among believers of different creeds in our time. At a moment of rising geopolitical chaos, the imperative of mutual understanding between nations and faith communities has never been more urgent, the dangers of action based on misunderstanding never greater. Informed by Armstrong's sweeping erudition and personal commitment to the promotion of compassion, Fields of Blood makes vividly clear that religion is not the problem.

Author(s): Karen Armstrong
Genre: History, Religion
Original Publish Date: Oct 28, 2014

All formats/editions

Author(s): Karen Armstrong
Genre: Religion, History
Product Number EB00366506
Released: Oct 28, 2014
Business Term: 2 Year
Publisher: Anchor
ISBN: #9780385353106

Professional reviews

"Karen Armstrong narrates her sweeping saga on humansÕ use of violence in the name of God. Whether sheÕs discussing Muslim, Hebrew, or Christian cultures, her premise is delivered with logic and reason. Armstrong smoothly takes listeners from the beginnings of humans and their deities to humans in the 21st century. She details the many atrocities, including 9/11, that have been performed in the name of God. Her tone and phrasing keep the listener attentive to the complex political and cultural puzzle pieces that fashion an atmosphere in which violence becomes a holy grail for the masses. Her blistering commentary is delivered sotto voce, but the naked truth of her words is loud and clear. E.E.S. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine"

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