new release: engaging, challenging and encouraging
Of The Everlasting Hills: The World Before And After Jesus,"
Thomas Cahill, Nan A. Talese Publishers, 1999, 353 pages.
his latest book, "Desire Of The Everlasting Hills,"
Thomas Cahill explores the life of the man he calls "the
central figure of Western civilization:" Jesus of Nazareth.
Although the life of Jesus is the focal point of the book, Cahill
takes a unique approach to the story. The author looks at the
world "before and after" the life of Jesus. He does this
through an examination of the known Western world, a world
dominated by the Roman Empire and prevailing Greek traditions.
These are the influences that combined with the existing Jewish
faith to create the environment in which Jesus and his teachings
developed. It is here that Cahill introduces us to a Jesus whom he
calls a "real person, sharp witted and sharp tongued, but
kind, humorous, and affectionate." This portrayal of Jesus as
a real person is a cornerstone of the bookís thesis. Examining
the people and apostles that Jesus knew, Cahill brings to life in
very human terms the realities that shaped the man on whom the
Christian faith is based.
Cahill recognizes the importance of all of the authors of the
narratives of the New Testament (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and
the Acts of the Apostles), it is the apostle Paul who receives the
most attention. In the poignant chapter "The Cosmic Christ:
Paulís Jesus," Cahill writes of Paulís eternal impact on
Christianity: "This driven man (driven by his zeal for the
Gospel).Ö is remembered today not so much for the effectiveness
of his preaching, the warmth of his sympathy, or even the extent
of his labors as for the words he left behind in his surviving
letters, which are still read each Sunday in churches throughout
the world." According to Cahill, it is this
"relentlessness" that made Paul "the perfect
vehicle for this moment in the development of the Jesus
writing is always engaging and challenging, encouraging the reader
to step outside the boundaries of their conventional beliefs about
the subject at hand. The book is the third volume in his
"Hinges Of History" series and follows his previous
best-sellers "How The Irish Saved Civilization" and
"The Gift Of The Jews." Eight pages of color
illustrations depict the different treatments of the image of
Jesus, Peter and Paul through the ages. The book has a
comprehensive index and contains Cahillís enlightening
"sidebar" style footnotes throughout the text.
Cahill is an informative and entertaining writer whose work
inspires both serious discussion and contemplative thought. This
book is recommended for all readers, especially those who wish to
gain a better understanding of the world of Jesus Christ, the
influence of that world on his philosophy and teachings, and the
genesis of Christianity after Jesusí crucifixion.
more information, visit the library at 725 Pekin St. or call
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