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Karen Armstrong

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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 31, 1996
The interview of Karen Armstrong, "Coming to Terms With God in a Newly Religious Age" (Opinion, Dec. 22), made me wonder how many others are caught in the same trap as Armstrong. A former nun who left the Catholic faith and proclaimed herself an atheist, she has wrestled with her spirituality ever since. She now considers herself a freelance monotheist. Armstrong has a great deal of "head knowledge" that unfortunately has never found its way to being "heart knowledge." She is a perfect example of Romans 1:22: "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools."
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October 12, 1994 | ROY RIVENBURG, TIMES STAFF WRITER
In the convent, the pale nun from the English countryside suffered blackouts, crying spells and hallucinations. When she left in 1969, she felt like Rip van Winkle, a stranger to the world of Vietnam and the Beatles. Finally, she lost her belief in God.
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October 11, 2009 | Jack Miles, Miles is distinguished professor of English and religious studies at UC Irvine and general editor of the forthcoming "The Norton Anthology of World Religions."
The Evolution of God Robert Wright Little, Brown: 576 pp. $25.99 The Case for God Karen Armstrong Alfred A. Knopf: 432 pp., $27.95 Until the discovery of DNA's double helix by James Watson and Francis Crick, prehistory was entirely the province of paleontologists and archaeologists. "But in the past few years," Nicholas Wade wrote in his 2006 book, "Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors" (a work praised by Watson himself, among many others)
BOOKS
December 29, 1996 | JONATHAN KIRSCH
As Karen Armstrong emphasizes in "Jerusalem: One City, Three Faiths," Jerusalem was founded by an obscure people called the Jebusites at some unknowable date in the distant past. The 3,000th anniversary now being celebrated is roughly based on the supposed date of the conquest of Jerusalem by King David, an event that is reported only in the Bible and, even according to the Bible, took place long after Jerusalem first came into existence.
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October 6, 1993 | JONATHAN KIRSCH, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
"A God-shaped hole" is how Jean-Paul Sartre described the longing in human consciousness for an all-powerful deity, and Salman Rushdie once observed that he tried to fill the hole with literature. Karen Armstrong, by contrast, fills it with history in her ambitious new book, "A History of God." In fact, Armstrong's book is slightly mistitled--it's not so much about God himself, but rather the idea of God as it has evolved over the last 5,000 years in art, politics, science and philosophy.
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October 11, 2009 | Jack Miles, Miles is distinguished professor of English and religious studies at UC Irvine and general editor of the forthcoming "The Norton Anthology of World Religions."
The Evolution of God Robert Wright Little, Brown: 576 pp. $25.99 The Case for God Karen Armstrong Alfred A. Knopf: 432 pp., $27.95 Until the discovery of DNA's double helix by James Watson and Francis Crick, prehistory was entirely the province of paleontologists and archaeologists. "But in the past few years," Nicholas Wade wrote in his 2006 book, "Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors" (a work praised by Watson himself, among many others)
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 7, 1997
Concerning "Coming to Terms With God in a Newly Religious Age" (Opinion, Dec. 22), most intellectuals would probably agree with Dan O'Neil (letter, Dec. 31) that "intellect" is an unreliable god, to put it mildly. So, to judge from her own words, would Karen Armstrong, who says any authentic statement about God should be paradoxical, and should reduce us to silence. She also says "compassion is the only litmus test of true spirituality." TERRY SHROEDER
BOOKS
October 30, 2005 | Susan Salter Reynolds
Reviewer's note: Publishers occasionally ask a group of authors to write on a single subject (wedding cakes, the seven deadly sins). Usually the results are stilted, but Canongate's bright new series on myth is so far an exception. Believing myths are the DNA of literature and must be retold to stay alive, the publisher asked several writers to choose their favorites and create something new from them.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 1, 2006 | Louis Sahagun, Times Staff Writer
The great traditions, author Karen Armstrong likes to observe, flowered in response to a time of violence similar to our own. Turbulent times accompanied the birth of Hinduism and Buddhism in India, Confucianism and Taoism in China, monotheism in the Middle East and rationalism in Greece. All shared a core vision for building a better world that was both simple and drastic: Do not harm others.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 1, 2006 | Louis Sahagun, Times Staff Writer
The great traditions, author Karen Armstrong likes to observe, flowered in response to a time of violence similar to our own. Turbulent times accompanied the birth of Hinduism and Buddhism in India, Confucianism and Taoism in China, monotheism in the Middle East and rationalism in Greece. All shared a core vision for building a better world that was both simple and drastic: Do not harm others.
BOOKS
April 18, 2004 | Nancy Klein Maguire, Nancy Klein Maguire, a scholar in residence at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., is the author of numerous publications on 17th century English theater, politics and history. She is the author of the forthcoming book "Facing God: The Story and Struggles of Ten Hermit Monks."
In 1962, at the age of 17, Karen Armstrong entered a very rigid, austere, anti-intellectual convent in Sussex, England. In 1981, 12 years after she left the convent, she recorded the experience in her first book, "Through the Narrow Gate." Two years later, in "Beginning the World," she continued her story, recounting her attempts to adjust to secular life as an Oxford student.
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April 4, 2004 | Michael J. Ybarra, Special to The Times
Not long after she left the English convent where she had spent seven years of her young adulthood, Karen Armstrong was invited to a party by fellow students at Oxford University. She could barely hear anyone talk over the din from the stereo, noise that she faintly recognized as music: screaming vocals, screeching guitars, disturbing drums. What is it? she asked. The Beatles, someone said. Who? It was 1969.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 24, 2001 | PETER CLOTHIER, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES; Peter Clothier is the author of "While I Am Not Afraid: Secrets of a Man's Heart."
Any study of the Buddha's life, as Karen Armstrong is quick to point out in this new biography from the Penguin Lives series, might seem antithetical to the essence of Buddhism, which is for each of us to take nothing on faith--not even the Buddha--and to discover the true spiritual path through our own efforts. But the attempt is still worthwhile, she notes, since "his life and teaching were inextricably combined. His was an essentially autobiographical philosophy."
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October 9, 2000 | MARY ROURKE, TIMES STAFF WRITER
For years she was tagged the "runaway nun," the rebellious ex-Catholic with outspoken opinions about religion--comparing, for example, Pope John Paul II to a Muslim fundamentalist. Now, with her 12th book, "Islam, a Short History" (Modern Library), Karen Armstrong has changed her image. She can still be sharp-tongued, inclined to draw conclusions that get a rise out of critics. But something closer to reconciliation, rather than anger, is propelling her.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 16, 2000 | NIKKI KEDDIE, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
Karen Armstrong, a respected and popular author of several books about religion, most recently "The Battle for God," takes on a useful and formidable task in presenting the history of Islam in a single short volume. As many other such works have been written either by apologists or by those hostile to Islam Armstrong's comprehensive and sympathetic work is welcome.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 8, 2000 | ZACHARY KARABELL, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES; Zachary Karabell is a contributing writer to Book Review
If you had asked the man on the street in 1900 about the future of religion, he would have said its days were numbered. One of the more surprising developments of the 20th century is that, far from receding from public life, religion has entered it in new and challenging ways. Nietzsche famously announced that God was dead, but in the Western world, millions would disagree.
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