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God: An Anatomy

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An astonishing and revelatory history that re-presents God as he was originally envisioned by ancient worshippers--with a distinctly male body, and with superhuman powers, earthly passions, and a penchant for the fantastic and monstrous. [A] rollicking journey through every aspect of Yahweh's body, from top to bottom (yes, that too) and from inside out ... Ms. Stavrakop An astonishing and revelatory history that re-presents God as he was originally envisioned by ancient worshippers--with a distinctly male body, and with superhuman powers, earthly passions, and a penchant for the fantastic and monstrous. [A] rollicking journey through every aspect of Yahweh's body, from top to bottom (yes, that too) and from inside out ... Ms. Stavrakopoulou has almost too much fun."--The Economist The scholarship of theology and religion teaches us that the God of the Bible was without a body, only revealing himself in the Old Testament in words mysteriously uttered through his prophets, and in the New Testament in the body of Christ. The portrayal of God as corporeal and masculine is seen as merely metaphorical, figurative, or poetic. But, in this revelatory study, Francesca Stavrakopoulou presents a vividly corporeal image of God: a human-shaped deity who walks and talks and weeps and laughs, who eats, sleeps, feels, and breathes, and who is undeniably male. Here is a portrait--arrived at through the author's close examination of and research into the Bible--of a god in ancient myths and rituals who was a product of a particular society, at a particular time, made in the image of the people who lived then, shaped by their own circumstances and experience of the world. From head to toe--and every part of the body in between--this is a god of stunning surprise and complexity, one we have never encountered before.


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An astonishing and revelatory history that re-presents God as he was originally envisioned by ancient worshippers--with a distinctly male body, and with superhuman powers, earthly passions, and a penchant for the fantastic and monstrous. [A] rollicking journey through every aspect of Yahweh's body, from top to bottom (yes, that too) and from inside out ... Ms. Stavrakop An astonishing and revelatory history that re-presents God as he was originally envisioned by ancient worshippers--with a distinctly male body, and with superhuman powers, earthly passions, and a penchant for the fantastic and monstrous. [A] rollicking journey through every aspect of Yahweh's body, from top to bottom (yes, that too) and from inside out ... Ms. Stavrakopoulou has almost too much fun."--The Economist The scholarship of theology and religion teaches us that the God of the Bible was without a body, only revealing himself in the Old Testament in words mysteriously uttered through his prophets, and in the New Testament in the body of Christ. The portrayal of God as corporeal and masculine is seen as merely metaphorical, figurative, or poetic. But, in this revelatory study, Francesca Stavrakopoulou presents a vividly corporeal image of God: a human-shaped deity who walks and talks and weeps and laughs, who eats, sleeps, feels, and breathes, and who is undeniably male. Here is a portrait--arrived at through the author's close examination of and research into the Bible--of a god in ancient myths and rituals who was a product of a particular society, at a particular time, made in the image of the people who lived then, shaped by their own circumstances and experience of the world. From head to toe--and every part of the body in between--this is a god of stunning surprise and complexity, one we have never encountered before.

30 review for God: An Anatomy

  1. 5 out of 5

    Paul Clark

    I really loved this book. Francesca Stavrakopoulou is a professor of Hebrew Bible and Ancient Religion at a British university who occasionally makes programmes for TV. In this book, she draws on her knowledge of Egyptian religion and other south-west Asian religions to help us understand the god of the Bible better. She also draws on her knowledge of Hebrew to show how Christian translators have modified the Hebrew Bible (a.k.a. Old Testament), airbrushing elements of the Biblical god that don’t I really loved this book. Francesca Stavrakopoulou is a professor of Hebrew Bible and Ancient Religion at a British university who occasionally makes programmes for TV. In this book, she draws on her knowledge of Egyptian religion and other south-west Asian religions to help us understand the god of the Bible better. She also draws on her knowledge of Hebrew to show how Christian translators have modified the Hebrew Bible (a.k.a. Old Testament), airbrushing elements of the Biblical god that don’t fit in with their theology. She makes two key points. The first is that Christianity and Judaism are not Biblical religions; they are post-Biblical religions. Most of the Hebrew Bible was written in and refers to very different times when the concept of God was very different to the monotheistic Christian and Jewish concepts of God. The second is that Yahweh, the god of the Bible, started life as a fairly minor storm god in a larger pantheon of gods. The major god of this pantheon was El (whose name lives on in the word Israel). The Israelites prioritised Yahweh, who over time took on El’s attributes and even seems to have acquired his wife (renamed Ashera). In the centuries before the Babylonian exile, Yahweh retained many characteristics of a pagan god, and there is strong evidence that other gods were widely worshipped by the Israelites and Judeans. It was only after the return from Babylon that those who worshipped only Yahweh were able to centralise religious practice around him and the Second Temple in Jerusalem. Only then could true monotheism develop. As it did so, Jewish, and later Christian, thinkers found that the idea of a single, transcendent God was incompatible with the very physical god described in the Bible. It became common to see Biblical passages as analogous and esoteric, something we should not take literally but should instead read for the deeper meaning buried within. Professor Stavrakopoulou disagrees. She thinks that when the Bible’s authors described Yahweh physically, they meant exactly what they said. The case she makes is compelling.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Viggo Pedersen

    Review from a none believer: A absolutely brilliant book! (I read it at the same time as I listened to the Professor herself read the book, so in one way I've read it twice.) It starts with a quote from Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, maps, a list of illustrations, a prologue and an introduction. Then it's divided into 5 parts: Feet and Legs, Genitals, Torso, Arms and Hands & Head + an epilogue. 420+ pages of God: An Anatomy, and it ends with 150+ pages of glossary, notes, bibliography, acknow Review from a none believer: A absolutely brilliant book! (I read it at the same time as I listened to the Professor herself read the book, so in one way I've read it twice.) It starts with a quote from Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, maps, a list of illustrations, a prologue and an introduction. Then it's divided into 5 parts: Feet and Legs, Genitals, Torso, Arms and Hands & Head + an epilogue. 420+ pages of God: An Anatomy, and it ends with 150+ pages of glossary, notes, bibliography, acknowledgement and an index. It's a book that should be taught in any school that have religion as a subject. And religious people should read it too. Maybe there be less religion, and the world would be a better place! I can't recommend this book enough! If you only read one book this year, this is the book to read!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Richard Hakes

    A good book if a little long on a single subject. I have been interested in 'the' family history ever since singing some Christmas carols a few years ago and wondering what cherubs and seraphims were, non of my pals (or anyone since) seems to know much. I have been on the lookout for further enlightenment since. The book tracks big G's life story from when he first came out about 3000 years ago. Back then he was very much the family man with wife, kids maybe not a mortgage and job but very clos A good book if a little long on a single subject. I have been interested in 'the' family history ever since singing some Christmas carols a few years ago and wondering what cherubs and seraphims were, non of my pals (or anyone since) seems to know much. I have been on the lookout for further enlightenment since. The book tracks big G's life story from when he first came out about 3000 years ago. Back then he was very much the family man with wife, kids maybe not a mortgage and job but very close. He also had an anatomy back then to suit. Over the years further glimpses of his body's anatomy have been reveled and become more obscure as time has gone by. But then again not much has been reviled about the anatomy of cherubs, seraphims and the rest of the family angles, arch angles (are they the same species but with differing status?), nephilim and of course the demons and their boss. Keep on reading!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Asser Khattab

    Thanks to Professor Francesca Stavrakopoulou, we finally we have a book that reveals the bare face (and several other organs!) of the God of the Bible before he became the Jewish God or the Christian God with whom we are familiar today, or think that we are. Excellent and highly recommended!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Pak455

    Pomysł na książkę jest w sumie niezły -- zebrać wyobrażenia związane z Bogiem (generalnie starożytne) i omówić je, jako kolejne części ciała, od stóp po głowę. Zaskakujące, że w sumie spora część ciała się zbierze. Ale w zasadzie, mimo paru ciekawostek nie zachwyciłem się. Wywiady z Francescą Stavrakopoulou są ciekawsze od jej książki.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Simon Gibson

  7. 4 out of 5

    Libby Thompson

  8. 4 out of 5

    Elliot

  9. 5 out of 5

    Alan

  10. 4 out of 5

    Joseph Mcmullen

  11. 4 out of 5

    Michael Platt

  12. 5 out of 5

    Luke Fear

  13. 4 out of 5

    James D'Arcy

  14. 5 out of 5

    Pickle.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ben Hoyle

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kaja

  17. 4 out of 5

    Hillel Maor

  18. 4 out of 5

    Anand

  19. 5 out of 5

    David

  20. 4 out of 5

    Dominic Hall

  21. 4 out of 5

    TR

  22. 4 out of 5

    James Pickles

  23. 5 out of 5

    Monicam

  24. 5 out of 5

    Yokeem Snowby

  25. 4 out of 5

    Helen

  26. 5 out of 5

    Christian

  27. 4 out of 5

    Eibhlin

  28. 4 out of 5

    Deborah Wilson

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kirsten M

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sam

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