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Extended Audio Sample God: A Biography Audiobook, by Jack Miles Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,017 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jack Miles Narrator: Michael Prichard Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2011 ISBN: 9780307938800
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What sort of “person” is God? Is it possible to approach him not as an object of religious reverence, but as the protagonist of the world’s greatest book—as a character who possesses all the depths, contradictions, and ambiguities of a Hamlet? In this “brilliant, audacious book” (Chicago Tribune), a former Jesuit marshalls a vast array of learning and knowledge of the Hebrew Bible to illuminate God—and man—with a sense of discovery and wonder.

In this close, careful, and inspired reading of God’s “life” as told in the Old Testament—book by book, verse by verse—God is seen from his first appearance as Creator to his last as Ancient of Days, variously powerful yet powerless, savage yet gentle, endlessly subtle yet mysteriously naive.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A scintillating work of literary scholarship that will forever color, if not downright alter, our conception of the bible as a work of art…dazzling.”

    New York Times

  • “A tour de force…The twists and turns of this formidable reading offer more than enough to stir up people who are at ease in Zion, and those who are not…Mr. Miles has accomplished what others failed to try. He has made a certain literary sense of the character God.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “A masterful, audacious inquiry…[Miles] has written a profound exploration of Western monotheism and the wellsprings of faith.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “An excellent introduction to the Hebrew Scriptures that does not read like a Scripture commentary.”

    Library Journal

  • “A literary study novel enough to woo ordinary.”

    Booklist

  • Winner of the 1996 Pulitzer Prize for Biography/Autobiography

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 EP | 2/12/2014

    " I could never really get into this book.... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mallory | 2/8/2014

    " Overall I found this book very interesting. The premise is to read the Hebrew testament, focusing on God as the character in a piece of literature. It was an interesting point of view, and also provided some insights into how the Jewish community arranges these books of the Bible. There were also some historical insights to put the Hebrew testament into context, and also provided, for me, an additional fresh perspective for reading the Old Testament in the Bible. There definitely some moments where I raised an eyebrow or rolled an eye when I felt he was taking the literary reading of the God-character to the extreme. (For example, trying to bring a little bit of Freud in to analyze God? Please, no.) However, that may simply reveal the bias I have of growing up thinking of God as...God and not a literary character. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sarah | 2/2/2014

    " I struggled with this for nearly 100 pages because the idea of analyzing God as a literary character was hard to wrap my head around, given the way the Tanakh/Old Testament* was written. Once I got beyond that and just gave myself over to the author's insightful interpretations of the text, I enjoyed it a lot. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nesreen | 1/6/2014

    " Written by former Jesuit Jack Miles, God: A Biography takes you through each chapter of the Bible from the perspective of Miles' main character: God. Miles' God is fallible, jealous, angry, hurt, and sometimes petty. He is a lot like each of us except he's invincible and has much more power than we will ever know. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Savannah Kiez | 1/2/2014

    " Thought provoking and deeply interesting, Jack Miles' "God: A Biography" follows the Judean God as a literary character, describing character traits from an objective literary perspective. Taking the reverence away from the character of God illuminates not only the thought process ancient peoples followed in his development, but also allows a contextual understanding of the religions branching out from early God-worship. As someone who is not religious and has only a very basic understanding of Christianity this book was incredibly interesting, as I could pick out historical context by studying which version of God the ancient Israelites were worshipping at any given time. Anthropologically, it is fascinating and literarily, it is a unique piece that has value despite your beliefs. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Gregg | 12/30/2013

    " God and his family are so dysfunctional that they make the Simpsons come across as downright normal and well adjusted. Well written and at times daring without striving to offend. You can be a devout Christian and still enjoy this one. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Leonard Pierce | 12/28/2013

    " This thing isn't quite as good as its reputation, and could be a bit more questioning and in-depth, but it's well-done, very readable, and with a hell of a concept. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Austin | 12/25/2013

    " My first encounter with the Bible as literature. Simultaneously deconstructed some beliefs for me and bolstered a more nuanced spirituality. Highly recommended. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nikoshalkias | 12/24/2013

    " If you have fixed opinions about Christianity (including what preceded it) you will not like it. To me, it is (I haven't read it all yet) another building block to my understanding of the supernatural as merely natural. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Saralyn | 12/18/2013

    " Miles is highly intelligent.. but has a tendancy to start into certain bible stories and not finish them. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 James M. Madsen, M.D. | 12/14/2013

    " A very good account of the changing perceptions and portrayals of God during the course of history covered by the Old Testament. I'm interested to see how this compares with Richard Elliott Friedman's The Hidden Face of God (q.v.). "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Brooke | 12/12/2013

    " it is one of the texts that stays in my mind. It provoked me. It is at the top of my all time fav books. I need to re-read soon and make this review more intelligent. Eric, you might really be provoked, too. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Audrey | 7/3/2013

    " Pretty heavy read. -1 star due to God in the New Testament being a lot more boring than in the Old Testament. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Joshua | 5/4/2013

    " this book's idea is very interesting, but actually getting through it was a struggle. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Adam | 1/9/2013

    " I can't seem to get into this. I keep putting back on the shelf. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kim | 11/24/2012

    " A very interesting take on this subject. I was a little tense and defensive while getting into this story since I consider myself Christian. But if you can expand your mind a bit, sometimes quite a bit, it is unique way of looking at the God of the Bible. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 David | 9/23/2012

    " Incredible in its scope, depth and meaning. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Penny Dreadful | 9/4/2012

    " This is a really interesting interpretation of the god of the Jewish old testament as a developing literary character. A totally neat idea and very illuminating about the bible as well. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brenda | 1/2/2012

    " So far, so good. What I like is that this book is purely analytical. I don't feel as if someone is trying to persuade me to believe or not believe. I did have to stop reading and find a copy of the Bible to familiarize myself with some of the references in the book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Andy | 12/13/2011

    " The book is written by an ex Jesuit priest. Jack Miles steps back from his faith, and looks at the evolution of God as a literary character. He talks about how the 'character' of God changes through the old and new testaments. A very thought provoking look at the most popular book in history. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kathryn | 10/12/2011

    " This was a very different and thought-provoking book. The author was tracing the life of God throughout the Old Testament considering Him a creator, destroyer, friend, liberator, fiend, bystander, etc. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Troy | 9/23/2011

    " I found the book to be both fascinating and a tad boring; I really wanted to love the book for its overall framing, the Jewish scriptures as biography of God and not merely a holy hand-off of words and rules. In his conception God evolves, becomes. Definitely worth reading. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ian Oeschger | 5/6/2011

    " Rereading this great profanation of a book about God as the troubled, inconsistent, bellicose protagonist of the Old Testament. Massive erudition, fresh angles and lots of naughty stuff! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kay | 3/16/2011

    " Asking "Can G-d's life be written," Miles tackles the subject matter with scholarship that alters conceptions of the Bible as art. Definitely not for the easily distracted... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennifer | 11/14/2010

    " Very interesting, but I'll be honest with you, I gave up halfway through. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jean | 10/3/2010

    " I found this biography of God very thought provoking. Mr. Miles, a former Jesuit, uses the Hebrew bible and looking at it as a piece of literature, follows the character development of God. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Audrey | 8/6/2010

    " Pretty heavy read. -1 star due to God in the New Testament being a lot more boring than in the Old Testament. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Margaret | 5/12/2010

    " Really liked the idea of this book but wasn't as impressed with the actual book itself. Still, a good read :) "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jason | 3/23/2010

    " To read the Bible as if looking at a stained glass window ... humm "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Dolly | 10/16/2009

    " Author as "Former Jesuit" made me think it might be an antidote to Dawkins' rants, but the word "former" was the clue. Humanistic retelling of the OT, just as naturalistic as Dawkins, even if kinder. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nikoshalkias | 10/15/2009

    " If you have fixed opinions about Christianity (including what preceded it) you will not like it. To me, it is (I haven't read it all yet) another building block to my understanding of the supernatural as merely natural. "

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About the Author
Jack Miles is a writer whose work has appeared in numerous national publications, including The Atlantic Monthly, the The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, and The Los Angeles Times, where he served for ten years as literary editor and as a member of the newspaper’s editorial board. The recipient of a Ph.D. in Near Eastern languages from Harvard University and a former Jesuit, he has been a Regents Lecturer at the University of California, director of the Humanities Center at Claremont Graduate University, and visiting professor of humanities at the California Institute of Technology. His first book, God: A Biography, won a Pulitzer Prize and has been translated into fifteen languages. Currently senior advisor to the president of the J. Paul Getty Trust, a foundation supporting art and scholarship, Dr. Miles lives with his wife and daughter in Southern California.
About the Narrator

Michael Prichard is a Los Angeles-based actor who has played several thousand characters during his career, over one hundred of them in theater and film. He is primarily heard as an audiobook narrator, having recorded well over five hundred full-length books. His numerous awards and accolades include an Audie Award for Tears in the Darkness by Michael Norman and Elizabeth M. Norman and six AudioFile Earphones Awards. He was named a Top Ten Golden Voice by SmartMoney magazine. He holds an MFA in theater from the University of Southern California.