Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
River of God, The: A New History of Christian Origins Paperback – March 4, 2003
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
The peoples of the Mediterranean world, including the Hebrews, all believed that the earth was a flat disk sitting on top of a disk of water. Over that was a hard dome, not more than a few thousand feet high, on top of which sat the gods. All the gods had bodies, including the Chief One. The Hebrews, like everyone else, never believed that God was an immaterial spirit or that people had spiritual souls that could unite with God after death. People just lived out their lives on earth under the gaze of the gods and the fates.
This view was challenged by the great mathematician Pythagoras in the 6th century b.c., who stated the earth is a sphere, and by Eratosthenes, who in the 3rd century b.c. computed that the earth is 40,000 kilometers in circumference, wonderfully close to its actual size. Riley says we cannot over emphasize the dramatic effect this new Greek science had on religious beliefs (the whole premise of his book is that religious beliefs are constantly changing in response to their times). For one thing, these discoveries made the material universe immense, infinite. For another thing, there was a commensurate change in the idea of God. The Greeks developed the via negativa method of describing the new God as immaterial, ineffable, and unknowable. Plato extended this idea of God to humans, describing their bodies as shells from which the soul-an emanation of God of sorts-would escape after death and return to God.
Riley says that these ideas were slow to catch on, but they did.Read more ›
We, human beings, live our life based on how we understand life. Religion, as I understand it, is a combination of a view of life and a way of life based on it, and it varies according to time and place. Christianity is an instance of religion at a specific time and place. How this form of religion came into existence and how it further evolved is the subject of Riley's book. Several streams contribute to form a river, and it further splits into several tributaries. A human being is a child of two parents, and he/she with a partner further gives birth to children. A species evolves to adapt with the changing environment. Using these three metaphors in the background, Riley explains how Christianity evolved.
This, I think, is an honest and scientific approach to the study of religion, which is opposed to the fundamentalist approach, which is subjective, naïve, and biased. This approach doesn't entertain any claims of superiority to any form of religion. It places a specific form of religion in a time and place, and traces its genealogy backward and forward. A form of religion is not necessarily of more quality than its parents or its siblings. Survival of a form is not always due to better quality.
At any point in time and place a variety of religious forms exist simultaneously.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fun learning experience. There is always more than appears on the surface.Published 21 months ago by Amazon Customer
Gregory Riley is professor of New Testament at the Claremont School of Theology; he has also written books such as One Jesus, Many Christs: The Truth About Christian Origins and... Read morePublished on July 25, 2013 by Steven H Propp
Read this for World Religions course, and it was pretty good. Interesting history of different religions and their connections to Christianity. Read morePublished on August 4, 2010 by southernsara
The River of God is yet another great book by Dr. Riley. Riley is one of the foremost New Testament scholars living today. Read morePublished on July 6, 2010 by Mark
The River of God not only deals with the subject of the origins of Christian beliefs, but also reviews alleged sources of Judeo-Biblical theology. Read morePublished on August 10, 2004 by T. Nelson
I really like this book. The analogy to an actual river is a concept of brilliance.
All these religious ideas have interplayed with others. Read more