Written by Thomas Cahill
Format: Trade Paperback, 304 pages
Pub Date: August 1999
Also available as a hardcover.
The author of the runaway bestseller How the Irish Saved Civilization has done it again. In The Gifts of the Jews Thomas Cahill takes us on another enchanting journey into history, once again recreating a time when the actions of a small band of people had repercussions that are still felt today.
The Gifts of the Jews reveals the critical change that made western civilization possible. Within the matrix of ancient religions and philosophies, life was seen as part of an endless cycle of birth and death; time was like a wheel, spinning ceaselessly. Yet somehow, the ancient Jews began to see time differently. For them, time had a beginning and an end; it was a narrative, whose triumphant conclusion would come in the future. From this insight came a new conception of men and women as individuals with unique destinies--a conception that would inform the Declaration of Independence--and our hopeful belief in progress and the sense that tomorrow can be better than today. As Thomas Cahill narrates this momentous shift, he also explains the real significance of such Biblical figures as Abraham and Sarah, Moses and the Pharaoh, Joshua, Isaiah, and Jeremiah.
Full of compelling stories, insights and humor, The Gifts of the Jews is an irresistible exploration of history, as fascinating and fun as How the Irish Saved Civilization.
"Pulls off the unlikely feat of offering readdable, well-paced prose and sophisticated analysis."
--Wall Street Journal
"Thomas Cahill looks at history with the rigor of a scholar but explains it simply, with the skill of a gifted teacher...He conveys with a fresh lens a legacy 'so much a part of us' that we scarcely recognize it."
"An outstanding and very readable book...highly recommended."
"A very good read, a dramatically effective, often compelling retelling of the Hebrew Bible."
--Chicago Sun Times
"This is a valuable book, of interest to everyone, religious or not."
"A highly readable, entrancing journey."
--San Francisco Chronicle