In Desire of the Everlasting Hills, Thomas Cahill takes up his most daring and provocative subject yet: Jesus of Nazareth, the central figure of Western civilisation. Introducing us first to the people Jesus knew, Cahill describes the oppressive Roman political presence, the pervasive Greek cultural influence, and especially the widely varied social and religious context of the Judaism in which Jesus moved and flourished. These backgrounds, essential to a complete understanding of Jesus, lead to the author's stunningly ...
In Desire of the Everlasting Hills, Thomas Cahill takes up his most daring and provocative subject yet: Jesus of Nazareth, the central figure of Western civilisation. Introducing us first to the people Jesus knew, Cahill describes the oppressive Roman political presence, the pervasive Greek cultural influence, and especially the widely varied social and religious context of the Judaism in which Jesus moved and flourished. These backgrounds, essential to a complete understanding of Jesus, lead to the author's stunningly original interpretation of the New Testament that will delight readers and surprise scholars. And from this reading emerges a portrait of Jesus as a real person, sharp-witted and sharp-tongued, but kind, humorous and affectionate, shadowed by the inevitable climax of crucifixion. Mary emerges as not quite the 'perpetual virgin' of popular piety, but still a vivid presence and forceful influence on her son, while the much-maligned apostle Paul, carrier of Jesus' message and the most important figure in early Christianity, finds rehabilitation in Cahill's revealing, realistic portrait. This is a book for believers and non-believers alike, an interpretative history that invites readers into an ancient world to commune with some of the most influential people who ever lived.
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I was raised as a Christian and still love Jesus but had come to mocking what I call "the magic parts" (especially as the focus, by people who consider themselves Christian because they believe in the Resurrection but apparently reject everything Jesus said about non-violence, tolerance, and economic justice).
Thomas Cahill is a Catholic scholar with a loving humanistic sensibility who returns to primary sources in the original Aramaic to examine the historical Jesus. He does this in an accessible, interesting way, imbued with his own spiritual insight.
I read this in a couple of days, though I seldom have the attention span to do that with a scholarly book. But no sooner would I hit a few dull graphs than along would come some observation or important evidence that moved me deeply.
And he makes an amazingly good case for the Resurrection, so this is a great book for skeptics and doubting believers. No one has ever made it seem so credible.
I think this book would be of interest to anyone with spiritual or historical curiosity about Jesus.
Feb 3, 2008
I enjoy everything on the 1st century of the common era.
Jun 22, 2007
A pleasant read
Thomas Cahill's book on the world before and after Jesus is, as the title suggests, a pleasant read. If you are expecting a dry, scholarly work, you will be pleased with the way the book reads. It is scholarly - but in a relaxed and chatty way. Mr. Cahill does not try to sell the reader on any particular view of Christianity. He does offer some interesting views on the Pauline Epistles, and on that saint himself, which may give some cause to reflect. This volume is part of a series called "The Hinges of History" which Mr. Cahill is in the process of writing.
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