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The Gifts of the Jews (1998)
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Wikipedia in English
Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385482493, Paperback)Thomas Cahill, author of the bestselling How the Irish Saved Civilization, continues his Hinges of History series with The Gifts of the Jews, a light-handed, popular account of ancient Jewish culture, the culture of the Bible. The book is written from a decidedly modern point of view. Cahill notes, for instance, that Abraham moved the Jews from Ur to the land of Canaan "to improve their prospects," and that the leering inhabitants of Sodom surrounded Lot's lodging "like the ghouls in Night of the Living Dead." The Gifts of the Jews nonetheless encourages us to see the Old Testament through ancient eyes--to see its characters not as our contemporaries but as those of Gilgamesh and Amenhotep. Cahill also lingers on often-overlooked books of the Bible, such as Ruth, to discuss changes in ancient sensibility. The result is a fine, speculative, eminently readable work of history.
(retrieved from Amazon Fri, 04 Jan 2013 10:20:37 -0500)
"Taking us first to Sumer in the third millennium, Cahill explores a civilization in which life is seen - as it was in all ancient societies - as part of an endless cycle of birth and death: time perceived as a wheel, spinning ceaselessly, never altering its course - until the ancient Jews dramatically change that perception." "When Abraham hears the Voice of God speaking the unexpected words "Go forth," the concept of an unknown future takes hold and Western civilization is born. From this insight the Jews evolve a new vision of men and women with unique destinies - a vision that thousands of years later will inspire the Declaration of Independence and our hopeful belief in progress and the sense that tomorrow can be better than today." "Thomas Cahill narrates this momentous shift with compelling stories, insights, and humor, and draws us closer to such powerful biblical personalities as Abraham and Sarah, Moses and Miriam, David, Amos, Isaiah, Naomi, and Ruth."--BOOK JACKET of hardcover ed..
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