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Paperback Desire of the Everlasting Hills: The World Before and After Jesus (The Hinges of History) Book

ISBN: 0385483724

Desire of the Everlasting Hills: The World Before and After Jesus (The Hinges of History)

(Book #3 in the The Hinges of History Series)

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Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Desire of the common reader...

In my opinion Cahill got it right. By 'it' I mean the voice and tone with which to discuss Jesus. Many of the critics of this book blame it for not being sufficiently 'academic.' Well, I applaud Cahill for choosing to write a book that can speak to the comman man or woman.I have never felt that the Hinges of History series were meant to be scholarly works arguing controversial positions. They are meant to be engaging and entertaining books that speak to all of western civilization. I feel that they are meant to BEGIN to wake us up to the depth of history that has shaped who we are, and to put in context the ideas, such as Christianity, that have such a profound impact on us today. After all, nearly 2000 years after the start of Christianity, how many Christians can say they really understand the origins of their faith or the world in which Jesus preached?Desire of the Everlasting Hills does an excellent job of painting a picture of Jesus and his worlds and the origins of the early church. To those critics who say that Cahill doesn't say enough about the early church: You are either blind or very unimaginative. Do you want a history of organized religion? There wasn't one. Cahill's presentation of theology is the history of early Christianity, which was decentralized and personal. Once THE Church comes onto the scene then the impact of Jesus as a person fades. In the end, Cahill's book is about Jesus and his individual impact on the world, not the impact of the institutions founded in his name. Cahill's relaxed use of footnotes and citation are a blessing to the common reader. Faith is a very personal idea, and to clutter it with the trappings of an uptight and suspicious academia is to kill it outright. Go back to your ivory towers. Cahill's goal is not to explain the word of God, but to give the reader a sense of the times, a feeling of the mood in this outpost of the Roman world at the time of Jesus. This goal he achieves with unmitigated success.I have seen reviews that say not to read this book if you are a Christian, and not to read it if you aren't a Christian. These people I feel, sadly, missed the point. Most are offended with Cahill's treatment of Jesus or his presentation of theology. Whether you believe Jesus was the Son of God or not, Cahill has to explain him and what he and the people around him believed in order to press upon the reader that Jesus was a man unlike the world saw before or since. It was ultimately this uniqueness that changed the way the world viewed morality, religion, and mankinds place on Earth. Central to this uniqueness was Jesus' faith. I never felt that Cahill's discussion of theology was an attempt to convert the reader, merely to explain Jesus' attempts at conversion.How do you emphasize a man's uniqueness while trying to place his life into a historical context? I do not know, but Cahill does it well. Those who cannot see that either cannot let themselves go enough to accept Jesus'

Everlasting in my Mind

So much intellectual discourse has been written in these reviews about this book. Allow me to give you a layman's review! Thomas Cahill's book is a smart, collegiate look at the times that surrounded Jesus, and it doesn't disappoint.He examines the different Gospels and their approach to the story of the Jesus, and how each author tailor made the stories to suit a different audience (hence, the sometimes contradictions within the Gospels themselves), which I found delightfully enlightening.His section on Paul was riveting, painting a picture of how a simple man could be so transformed by an event to change his life entirely. He also works to dispel some myths about Paul, particularly his sexist bias in his letters. He also bravely takes on some church doctrines that are apparently "Bible based", more power to him!I did find the first chapter difficult to get through at times. I felt that Cahill was using terms and historical names that I wasn't too famililar with, and therefore, left the reader in the dark by failing to explain these people/events/terms. The muddy water soon clears, so just steer a course through the words and trust that your comprehension will come back!Overall, Cahill's book summed up and affirmed much about what is known about Jesus and his times, and provides an inspiring look at Biblical events in the contexts of world history, leading to a deeper understanding of the Son that has transformed much of our own world.

Not for the close minded

Well I am sure that if you only accept orthodox theology, this book will either scare you or enrage you. This book succeeds brilliantly in detailing the history and customs of the "times of Jesus". Definitely informative and entertaining.The kind of book that opens up new levels of investigation for a "spiritual detective". Great book....highly recommended.

Thoughtful, Reflective, Respectful and Original -- Again

Desire of the Everlasting Hills, like Mr. Cahill's earlier two books, offers more information and insight than can be absorbed through a single reading. While I don't agree with everything the author (or Paul, for that matter) has to say, all of it deserves careful thought and reflection. As in The Gift of the Jews, Mr. Cahill sets the stage for the focus of the book by reviewing events that lead up to the main events. This isn't some "Chariot of the Gods". The author provides not unfounded speculation, but scholarly explanations that are consistent with what is known about how people lived and acted 2000 years ago. Some readers may feel that -- by providing academic, popular, alternative descriptions of issues central to our religious and secular worlds -- Mr. Cahill is playing with fire. I for one welcome the light and heat these books provide. If this book helps readers understand people from other cultures, religions and times, then it can also bring us closer to understanding each other in our own time. And that might be Mr. Cahill's greatest gift of all.

Better than you'd think

I think that my fellow reviewers have been much harsher on Cahill than they need be. What Cahill does--which is popular history in the best sense of the word--is very admirable, and the fact that he brings so much gusto and personal opinion to this account of Jesus is par for the course. I mean, which would you prefer--yet another dryly academic treatise on Jesus that summarized all the facts in 800 pages and showed little or no emotion (so that you don't even know if the author is religious or not), or something much more colorful, but that does away with the tight and uncomfortable trappings of scholarly tomes? If you prefer the former, I can only recommend that you learn German, since you can then devote the rest of your life wading through such awfully boring (please pardon my choice of word) stuff as, say, the maddeningly trivial dating of a certain event related in the Bible. But if you choose the latter, then I can say that I don't quite know too many books like Cahill's: concise, engrossing, interesting, and, yes, always fun. If the book does nothing else but engages the reader's interest, then I think it has achieved a noble purpose. Whether you agree with Cahill's opinions or not is of course something else entirely. But then, do you always have to agree with an author's opinion to enjoy his or her book or to benefit from reading it?
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