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Nationality: 
United Kingdom
Gender: 
Female

Location of Activities

Country: 
UK
Regions: 
North Europe
Email: 
British Author and Commentator, Former Roman Catholic Nun

A former Roman Catholic nun, scholar and admirer of various traditions, Dr. Karen Armstrong is a renowned British author and commentator focusing on commonalities of the major religions, such as the importance of compassion and the Golden Rule.

Leaving the convent in 1969 while she was studying at Oxford, Armstrong embarked on her pursuit of an understanding of major religions and their common understandings.  She was commissioned by the British television company Channel Four to write and present a documentary on the life of St. Paul, the First Christian. Her travels to the Holy Land to retrace the steps of the saint most particularly inspired her subsequent works.  In her early work A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam (1993), the evolution of the three major monotheistic traditions is traced from their beginnings in the Middle East up to the present day.  It also discusses Hinduism and Buddhism. Later publications followed and include Jerusalem: One City, Three Faiths (1996); Islam: A Short History (2000); The Battle for God: A History of Fundamentalism in Judaism, Christianity and Islam (2000);  Buddha (2000); The Spiral Staircase: My Climb Out of Darkness (2004); A Short History of Myth (2005); The Great Transformation: The Beginning of Our Religious Traditions (2006); Muhammad: A Prophet for Our Time (2006); The Case for God (2009);Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life (2010): Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence (2014); and Paul: The Misunderstood Apostle (2015). 

In 2008, Armstrong was awarded the Ted Prize with which she called for the launch of the Charter for Compassion.  The open writing process commenced in November 2008 with the launch taking place the following year. In the spirit of the Golden Rule, the Charter identifies shared moral priorities across religious traditions and fosters global understanding and a peaceful world.  Other awards in recognition of Armstrong’s contributions to and achievements in interfaith and intercultural identity and understanding worldwide, include The Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Medal (2008); the British Academy's inaugural Nayef al-Rodhan Prize for Transcultural Understanding (2013); and the Princess of Asturias Award for Social Sciences (2017).

Biography as at 22.05.18
Main Publications: 

1.) Armstrong, Karen. A History of God: The 4000-year Quest of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. New York: A.A. Knopf : Distributed by Random House, 1993.

2.) Armstrong, Karen. Muhammad: A Prophet for Our Time. New York: Atlas Books/HarperCollins, 2006.

3.) Armstrong, Karen. Holy War: The Crusades and Their Impact On Today's World. New York: Doubleday, 1991.

4.) Armstrong, Karen. The Battle for God. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2000.

5.) Armstrong, Karen. The Great Transformation: The Beginning of Our Religious Traditions. New York: Knopf, 2006.

6.) Armstrong, Karen. Jerusalem: One City, Three Faiths, 1996.

7.) Armstrong, Karen. Islam: A Short History, 2000.

8.) Armstrong, Karen. The Battle for God: A History of Fundamentalism in Judaism, Christianity and Islam, 2000.

9.) Armstrong, Karen. Buddha, 2000.

10.) Armstrong, Karen. The Spiral Staircase: My Climb Out of Darkness, 2004.

11.) Armstrong, Karen. A Short History of Myth, 2005.

12.) Armstrong, Karen. The Great Transformation: The Beginning of Our Religious Traditions, 2006.

13.) Armstrong, Karen. Muhammad: A Prophet for Our Time. 2006.

14.) Armstrong, Karen. The Case for God, 2009.

15.) Armstrong, Karen. Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life, 2010.

16.) Armstrong, Karen. Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence, 2014.

17.) Armstrong, Karen. Paul: The Misunderstood Apostle, 2015.

18.) Armstrong, Karen. The Lost Art of Scripture, Rescuing the Sacred Texts, 2019.

Areas of Actions: 
Shared Human Values
Forms of Actions: 
Information DistributionResearchEducational Programmes