Crucible of Faith: The Ancient Revolution that Made Our Modern Religious World

Philip Jenkins. Basic, $30 (336p) ISBN 978-0-465-09640-4
In this absorbing and accessible account, Jenkins (The Many Faces of Christ), professor of history at the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor University, examines monotheism in 250–50 B.C.E., a time when political, philosophical, and spiritual cross-currents came together to give birth to the modern religious West. Jenkins argues that the spiritual revolution of this period established the cosmology and core scriptures of the Abrahamic religions: Judaism, and later Christian and Islamic traditions. Jenkins begins with a chapter that sets the stage for the Jewish diaspora’s encounters with the Greek empire and the cultures of Mesopotamia. Subsequent chapters draw on canonical, deuterocanonical, apocryphal, and Qu’ran writings to reconstruct how religious beliefs commonplace to us today were created in the centuries before the fall of the Second Temple in 70 C.E. Throughout, this work places critical spiritual debates within the context of warring empires, struggles over political and religious authority, and the daily experiences of living through tumultuous times. Like the writings of historian Karen Armstrong (A History of God), the book invites readers with a nonspecialist background to consider the historical roots of religious ideas and practices that many take for granted as eternal truths. Agent: Adam Eaglin, Cheney Associates. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/10/2017
Release date: 09/19/2017
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 336 pages - 978-0-465-09641-1
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