STRANGE GODS: A SECULAR HISTORY OF CONVERSION -- a groundbreaking historical work that addresses religious conversion in the west
Strange Gods: A Secular History of Conversion by Susan Jacoby (2016, Pantheon; 512 pages)
This is a groundbreaking historical work that addresses religious conversion in the West from a secular perspective. Susan Jacoby, the author, challenges the conventional narrative of conversion as a purely spiritual journey. She focuses on the long, tense convergence of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and she examines conversions within a social and economic framework that includes theocratic coercion and the more friendly persuasion of political advantage, economic opportunism, and inter-religious marriage.
The book moves through different times in history, continents, and cultures and the author chooses to portray individual conversions. The reader can learn about Augustine of Hippo, John Donne, the German Jew Edith Stein, whose conversion to Catholicism did not save her from Auschwithz, boxing champion Muhammad Ali, and former President George W. Bush.
I was absolutely in awe reading the chapter "From Convivencia to the Stake," the history of The Inquisition in Spain, and the crumbling of that convivencia. The chapter on Margaret Fell, "Woman´s Mind, Woman´s Voice," is also an absolute jewel.
The book is fantastic, a combination of intellectual rigor and erudition, but also a writing lively and enlightening that makes the possibility of enjoying a non-fiction book about religious conversions a reality. Absolutely worthy of your time.
Find this title in our catalog: Strange Gods
Recommended by: Maite