Campus & Community

Karen Armstrong will make the ‘Case for God’ in Noble Lectures

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Acclaimed author and religious historian Karen Armstrong will present “The Case for God” during the three-day William Belden Noble Lectures at the Memorial Church Nov. 13-15 at 8 p.m. Armstrong, the author of some 20 books, including the best-selling “A History of God” and “The Battle for God,” is renowned for her ideas about the similarities between Islam, Judaism, and Christianity, and what unites the three monotheist faiths. She points out that each has in common the image of a single supreme being who was revealed to the Prophet Abraham, each is historically linked to Jerusalem, and each, during the past few years, has seen within it the rise of a rigid and conservative group within their faith that has formed in reaction to the changing modern world.

On Nov. 13, Armstrong will begin the series with her examination of “What Is Truth?”; the following evening (Nov. 14), she will discuss “How Do We Know the Unknowable God?”; and her final lecture (Nov. 15) confronts “God’s Future.” An eminent religious scholar will present a response to each of the lectures.

Among Armstrong’s recent work is a re-writing of her biography of the Prophet Muhammad, newly titled “Muhammad: A Prophet for Our Time.” She said on New York public radio in 2006, that “I have rewritten my biography of the Prophet Muhammad, based on the latest research — he was not a warrior, but he found himself, like many of the Axial Age sages, in a violent society and he eventually brought peace to the region by practicing a daring policy of nonviolence worthy of Gandhi. He stopped the violence and went into Mecca unarmed and forced the Meccans to negotiate with him, accepting terms that his followers thought were disgraceful.” She has just completed work on her latest book, “The Bible: A Biography,” due out in November.

The Noble Lectures were established at Harvard in 1898 and claim an impressive roster of past lecturers including Theodore Roosevelt, Sen. Eugene McCarthy, and Archbishop of Canterbury Robert Runcie. The lectures are free and open to the public. For more information, contact the Memorial Church at (617) 495-5508 or e-mail