- Series: Back Bay Readers' Pick
- Paperback: 592 pages
- Publisher: Back Bay Books; Reprint edition (May 3, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 031606744X
- ISBN-13: 978-0316067447
- Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1.5 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 228 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #64,217 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Evolution of God (Back Bay Readers' Pick) Reprint Edition
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About the Author
Robert Wright is a contributing editor of The New Republic, a Slate.com columnist, and a visiting scholar at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the cofounder of www.bloggingheads.tv, runs the web-based video project www.meaningoflife.tv, and lives in Princeton, NJ, with his wife and two daughters.
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The book starts by revealing many new facets of animistic religions that I was not familiar with. It made me look up Primitive Culture by the famous anthropologist E.B. Taylor. Wright's book also has a fascinating account of the emergence of Judaistic monotheism from monolatrist thought. The book has a surprisingly positive appraisal of Islam as a modern religion.
Overall the book argues that man's understanding of the divine develops from the particular (deity of one tribe) to the general (God of all mankind) and from the irrational (animism) to the rational (God is the Logos of the world) as man himself develops from primitive to modern society. Its a very Hegelian argument but couched in an ostensibly materialist epistemology (in the sense that the positive evolution of morality is, to my mind, somewhat of an open question).
What fascinated me the most about the argument was the instrumental role of the philosopher Philo. Philo emerges as a giant religious and secular philosopher because of his successful synthesis of the Greek notions of Logos with monotheism. This was an aspect that I was not very familiar with and till reading this book I had never ranked Philo very high in the history of philosophy. With this book, however, he towers above the others as the thinker that is instrumental in the synthesis of religious and philosophy.