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How God Became God: What Scholars Are Really Saying about God and the Bible

by Richard M. Smoley

ISBN: 9780399185557
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ISBN: 9780399185557

Publisher Description

This epic, thrilling journey through Bible scholarship and ancient religion shows how Scripture is historically false - yet the ancient writings, also, resound with theologies that crisscrossed the primeval world and that direct us today toward a deep, inner, authentic experience of the truly sacred. From a historical perspective, the Bible is shockingly, provably wrong - a point supported by today's best archaeological and historical scholarship, but not well understood by (or communicated to) the public. Yet this emphatically does not mean that the Bible isn't, in some very real measure, true, argues scholar of mysticism, Richard Smoley. Smoley reviews the most authoritative historical evidence to demonstrate that figures such as Moses, Abraham and Jesus are not only unlikely to have existed, but bear strong composite resemblances to other Near Eastern religious icons. Likewise, the geopolitical and military events of Scripture fail to mesh with the largely settled historical time line and social structures. Smoley meticulously shows how our concepts of the Hebrew and Christian God, including Christ himself, are an assemblage of ideas that were altered, argued over and edited - until their canonization. This process, to a large degree, gave Western civilisation its consensus view of God. But these conclusions are not a cause for nihilism or disbelief. Rather, beneath the metaphorical figures and mythical historicism of Scripture appears an extraordinary, truly transcendent theology born from the most sacred and fully realised spiritual and human insights of the antique Eastern world. Far from being "untrue," the Bible is remarkably, extraordinarily true as it connects us to the sublime insights of our ancient ancestors and points to a unifying ethic behind many of the world's faiths.

Author Biography

Richard Smoley is one of the world's most distinguished authorities on the mystical and esoteric teachings of Western civilisation. A graduate of Harvard College and the University of Oxford, he was a longtime editor of the venerated spiritual journal Gnosis. Smoley is the author of several books including Inner Christianity, The Essential Nostradamus, and Forbidden Faith: The Secret History of Gnosticism. He is currently editor of Quest: Journal of the Theosophical Society in America.

Review

"Enormously comforting, encouraging and inspiring. [This] is a book of tremendous service to spiritual seekers.... The threads of sanity, academic integrity, and conservative, evidence-based claims are of inestimable value in anyone's spiritual quest.... Sheer delight, page after page, chapter after chapter." --Larry Dossey, M.D., author of Healing Words and One Mind "Smoley is a crucial guide to the ancient traditions, and to how a greater understanding of those traditions can make our lives today more meaningful." --Eben Alexander, MD, author of Proof of Heaven

"I have a standing rule: I read anything Richard Smoley writes." --Larry Dossey, MD

"Smoley...is adept at unknotting the paradoxes of spiritual traditions and making new connections across centuries and languages." --Library Journal

"One of the liveliest, most intrepid, and most gifted explorers of the spiritual landscape writing today." --Ptolemy Tompkins, author of Paradise Fever

Product Details

Author
Richard M. Smoley
Short Title
HOW GOD BECAME GOD
Pages
320
Language
English
ISBN-10
0399185550
ISBN-13
9780399185557
Media
Book
Format
Paperback
Publisher
Tarcherperigee
Year
2016
Subtitle
What Scholars are Really Saying About God and the Bible
Country of Publication
United States
Illustrations
illustrations
Publication Date
2016-09-01
Audience
General/Trade