Houston Matters

Religious Historian Explores How Views On Scripture Have Skewed More Literal

Ahead of an event in Houston, Karen Armstrong discusses her book, “The Lost Art of Scripture: Rescuing the Sacred Texts.”


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Much good and bad has been done in this world in the name of religion. And often, those good or bad actors point to specific scripture – passages in the Bible, the Torah, the Quran and the rest – to justify their actions and attitudes.

Religious historian Karen Armstrong says such narrow, often literal views of scripture are a relatively new phenomenon.

In the audio above, Armstrong tells Houston Matters producer Michael Hagerty that, until recent history, reading, studying, and interpreting scripture was more of a performative art. And that most sacred texts never claim to be factually accurate.

That concept is the subject of her book The Lost Art of Scripture: Rescuing the Sacred Texts.

She speaks in Houston on Monday, Nov. 11, at an event organized by The Progressive Forum.

Religious Historian Karen Armstrong
Religious historian Karen Armstrong is the author of numerous books, including "The Lost Art of Scripture: Rescuing the Sacred Texts."

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Michael Hagerty

Michael Hagerty

Senior Producer, Houston Matters

Michael Hagerty is the senior producer for Houston Matters. He's spent more than 20 years in public radio and television and dabbled in minor league baseball, spending four seasons as the public address announcer for the Reno Aces, the Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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