God : A Human History
by Reza Aslan

Overview - 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.

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More About God by Reza Aslan
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

  • ISBN-13: 9780553394726
  • ISBN-10: 055339472X
  • Publisher: Random House
  • Publish Date: November 2017
  • Page Count: 320
  • Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds

Related Categories

Books > Religion > History
Books > History > World - General
Books > Religion > Comparative Religion

BookPage Reviews

Guides for spiritual seekers

For many, the holidays are a season for reflection. For gifts that deliver an uplifting message or daily direction for practicing your faith, consider these inspirational new releases.

Perfect as a gift for yourself or a friend, Becca Stevens’ Love Heals outlines a path to healing, peace and forgiveness through love. Stevens, an Episcopal priest and founder of the Nashville nonprofit community Thistle Farms, has been widely recognized for her work with women who’ve faced horrific circumstances. She has focused on the healing power of love as the guiding principle for both her personal faith and her 20 years of working with survivors of addiction, trafficking and prostitution. Using her own experiences and those of Thistle Farm residents, Stevens shows how love can help us regain strength, power and purpose in our lives. “Healing may mean finding peace after trauma, feeling hope in the midst of grief, forgiving after being hurt, or just relief from the daily wear and tear of living in a broken world,” she writes. She intertwines personal stories with scripture, poetry, prayers and step-by-step advice to help readers step out of their comfort zones and take action to make a difference in their own lives and the lives of others.

In God: A Human History, bestselling author and former CNN host Reza Aslan asks readers to reconsider what they believe they know about God and where their ideas originate. With extensive knowledge of biblical Greek, theology, history and philosophy, Aslan takes readers on a journey through time, from the theory of creation to the present. He contends, “The entire history of human spirituality can be viewed as one long, ever-evolving, and remarkably cohesive effort to make sense of the divine.” He questions why we have diminished the greatness of the divine by assigning human characteristics to a nonhuman entity when we so desperately want to have faith in the unknown. Aslan’s accessible prose and well-researched arguments invite readers—whether atheists or believers—to dive in and consider his theories on the humanization of the divine.

For some of us, the process of aging is traumatic, while others appear to handle their advancing years with grace. In Ageless Soul: The Lifelong Journey Toward Meaning and Joy, Thomas Moore, author of the bestseller Care of the Soul, inspires readers to approach their later years with purpose and dignity. Moore argues that aging is not a matter of years, but of experiences—the events and decisions that form our very core—and we have the ability to age while “becoming a full, rich and interesting person.” With empathy toward those who fear growing old, Moore addresses not only the aging soul but also the aging body and mind. How can we deal with anger and loneliness as we age? How can we make the most of our retirement years? Moore answers these questions and more, and offers a guide to growing old and accepting who we are while seeking joy, contentment and fulfillment in our final season of life.

Tyler Perry offers readers a glimpse into his spiritual life with his second book, Higher Is Waiting. Known for his success in film, television and theater, as well as his strong faith, Perry presents personal journal entries that illustrate how his difficulties have led him higher and closer to God. Writing in a conversational tone, he shares stories, scripture and questions to inspire deeper reflection. A Tree of Life metaphor infuses this collection, which is divided into four parts: Planting the Seeds, Nourishing the Roots, Branching Out and Harvesting the Fruit. Perry walks readers through the difficulties of his childhood, including his father’s alcohol abuse, and shows how faith was revealed through his spiritual role models—his mother, Maxine, and his Aunt Mae. His introspection pushes us to contemplate how our own “soul-filled experiences” can teach us that lessons can be found in disappointment. Perry explains how to depend on the strength of our branches of faith and the people who raise us up. Finally, he advocates moving toward a life of gratitude, not only for what we have but also for what we can give to others.

God’s Wisdom for Navigating Life, written by Presbyterian pastor Timothy Keller with his wife, Kathy Keller, offers a yearlong daily devotional for following God’s path, with entries drawn from the book of Proverbs. In the book’s introduction, the Kellers explain how this new volume differs from their 2015 bestseller, The Songs of Jesus, a devotional based on the book of Psalms. While the Psalms tend to push us gently toward faith in God, they write, the book of Proverbs is a wake-up call to do God’s work in the world and to live as God calls us to live. Each section of the book highlights a different area of our lives—from friendship and parenting to justice, wisdom and foolishness—and shows how the Proverbs can help us develop a stronger relationship with God. Each daily entry includes scripture, reflection, opportunity for journaling and prayer. Through the Kellers’ beautifully written devotionals, readers will be inspired and motivated to practice what they read “in thought, word, attitude or deed.”


This article was originally published in the December 2017 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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