Regular price: $20.99
Buy Now with 1 Credit
Buy Now for $20.99
George K. Wilson is the perfect narrator for this tone of spirited openness, well-practiced as he is in nonfiction voice work, having narrated more than 100 books. Kugel was prompted by his own cancer diagnosis to undertake a study of the religious basis for the feeling of smallness produced by his fatal prognosis, a subject that certainly requires Wilson’s impeccable gravitas. When faced with the real prospect of our own death, each and every one of us pretty much arrives at a profound sense of silence and has trouble coping with the fact of our insignificance. Charting the course of such an idea in human history is no easy task, and Kugel riffs off a wide assortment of roots for this phenomenon, from neuroscience to sociology to poetry to gospel.
Kugel’s ultimate argument is that this is a universal feeling, and an appropriate foundation for the contemplation of God. Skeptics and devotees alike will appreciate the mystical sense of unraveling in Wilson’s interpretation. In the end, religion is more of an experience than a dogma. Wilson’s very distinguished job of conveying Kugel’s insight into the matter makes this a worthy listen. Megan Volpert
Weaving reflections on his own struggle---the love of his family became "as tangible as bread"---with the writings of anthropologists, neuroscientists, and poets, he leads listeners from prehistoric religious practices to the religious doubts of modern times via an amazing array of topics: the eerie starkness of medieval cathedral architecture; the "looming Outside" revealed in African witchcraft; biblical encounters with angels; gospel album covers; and---through it all---the peculiar "sense of smallness" that, he argues, characterizes how all humans used to conceive of themselves. Kugel's look at the whole phenomenon of religion is rigorously honest, often funny, sometimes skeptical, but ultimately a deeply moving affirmation of faith in God. Believers and doubters alike will be struck by its combination of objective scholarship and poetic insight---a beautifully crafted consideration of life's greatest mystery.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By J. Heller on 02-20-12
If you could sum up In the Valley of the Shadow in three words, what would they be?
insightful amd thought provoking
Who was your favorite character and why?
Jim Kugel - he is the victim
Which scene was your favorite?
winning prize payable over multiple years at time when he thought he would die quickly
If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?
what fools we mortals be
1 of 1 people found this review helpful