From the archives: Karen Armstrong on ‘The Lost Art of Scripture’

An author profile picture next to the book cover.
Karen Armstrong is the author of "Sacred Nature: Restoring Our Ancient Bond with the Natural World."
Courtesy Photo

Karen Armstrong entered a convent when she was 17.

When she was last on stage at the Fitzgerald Theater, in 2019, she said she treated getting into heaven like getting into the University of Oxford.

“My early experience of religion — both before I became a nun and during it — was all about me,” said Armstrong.

“[It was] about my feelings about the Lord, my meditations and my progress, and was I going to be a good nun or was I going to get into heaven? Lots of times I doubted that.”

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Armstrong and her peers were told not to focus on the outside world, but to look inward instead.

She laughed while remembering one notable exception, during the Cuban missile crisis. They were warned about the threat of war, but were never told that the threat was over.

“For three weeks, we were sort of scanning the horizon for mushroom clouds until eventually one of us had the courage to say, ‘What happened about Cuba?’”

She left the convent decades ago, but has spent several years closely examining religion.

In 2019, she published “The Lost Art of Scripture: Rescuing the Sacred Texts,” in which she examined what value holy texts can have for us today. Her new book is “Sacred Nature: Restoring our Ancient Bond with the Natural World,” and she’ll discuss that with host Kerri Miller Wednesday, Sept. 14, at 7 p.m. on stage at the Fitz.

Can’t make it to the show? Look for an edited version of their conversation on Big Books and Bold Ideas on Friday.


  • Karen Armstrong is the author of numerous books on religious affairs, including “The Case for God,” “A History of God,” “The Lost Art of Scripture” and many others.

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