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Gifts of the Jews (Paperback, New edition)
Gifts of the Jews (Paperback, New edition): Thomas Cahill

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Gifts of the Jews (Paperback, New edition)

Thomas Cahill

Series: Hinges of History S.

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An engrossing overview of the values and sensibilities of the Hebrew Bible, and of how decisively they have influenced our own. The second (after the bestselling How the Irish Saved Civilization, 1995) of a projected seven-volume series on the evolution of human sensibility shows how the ancient Israelites transformed the idea of religion by gradually introducing monotheism, and equally transformed our sense of time and history. Beginning with Abraham's departure from his Sumerian homeland, the ancient Hebrews broke with the repetitive cyclical image of history assumed by most ancient religions to forge what Cahill terms the "processive" worldview. In this perspective, the present and future become more important than the past, for they are open to change, progress, and hope. Cahill also credits the Hebrew Bible with bequeathing to Western civilization such seminal ideas as the interior self (e.g. in David's Psalms), the universal commonalities of all peoples, and, more dubiously, a focus on interpersonal relationships (e.g. in the Song of Songs). He often manages to turn many a beautiful phrase while being forthrightly colloquial. Occasionally, however, he overdoes the plain talk, missing more profound dynamics, as in noting that he's willing to give God "the benefit of the doubt" for commanding Abraham to sacrifice Isaac (Gen. 22) because "He had to jump-start this new religion and he didn't always have the best material to work with." But he occasionally overstates his case - surely the ancient Greeks were as significant an influence on our values and worldview as the ancient Israelites. Nonetheless, in an age crowded with bloated, pedantic tomes, Cahill offers a refreshingly succinct, illuminating, and readable summary of the Hebrew Bible's enduring wisdom and influence. (Kirkus Reviews)

General

Imprint: Bantam Doubleday Dell Pub
Country of origin: United States
Series: Hinges of History S.
Release date: September 1999
Authors: Thomas Cahill
Dimensions: 220mm (L)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 256
Edition: New edition
ISBN-13: 978-0-385-49657-5
Categories: Books > Humanities > Philosophy
Books > Humanities > Religion & beliefs
Books > Humanities > Philosophy > Non-Western philosophy
Books > Humanities > Religion & beliefs > Non-Christian religions
Books > Humanities > Philosophy > Non-Western philosophy > General
Books > Humanities > Religion & beliefs > Non-Christian religions > Judaism
Books > Humanities > Religion & beliefs > Non-Christian religions > Judaism > General
Books > Philosophy > Non-Western philosophy
Books > Philosophy > Non-Western philosophy > General
Books > Religion & Spirituality > Non-Christian religions
Books > Religion & Spirituality > Non-Christian religions > Judaism
Books > Religion & Spirituality > Non-Christian religions > Judaism > General
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LSN: 0-385-49657-5
Barcode: 9780385496575

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