PanThe Times (UK)Stavrakopoulou has the good grace to quote these distinguished opponents, but she never explains why they are wrong. There is, instead, a lot of dark insinuation that this was the theologians’ \'strategy\' to \'veil\' the truth, or that they were under the “elitist” influence of Greek philosophers who wrote about the immateriality of God: throughout this book, taking Plato and Aristotle seriously is considered a rather shameful habit ... Stavrakopoulou has a lively, unfussy prose style well suited to this kind of study ... More often, however, Stavrakopoulou’s interpretations drain the colour from the Bible ... The blurb suggests that Stavrakopoulou will examine \'the origins of our civilisation\', but her approach tends to make the Bible’s most important passages meaningless or ridiculous ... Great texts always provoke varying interpretations: it is one mark of their greatness that each generation finds something new in them. But sometimes a novel interpretation is also hopelessly wrongheaded.
MixedThe Times (UK)The book starts promisingly enough, with Raihani gathering weird and wonderful examples of the “social instinct” among humans and our fellow creatures ... The only problem is Raihani’s fairly rigid application of Darwinian logic. She doesn’t get bogged down in the long-running debate about how much of human nature can be explained by evolution. Still, the book tends towards the approach that the philosopher-neuroscientist Raymond Tallis witheringly calls \'Darwinitis\'; interpreting all human behaviour in terms of how it helps us to survive or reproduce. The \'ultimate explanation\' of our habits, Raihani believes, is a Darwinian one.