The Gifts of the Jews: How a Tribe of Desert Nomads Changed the Way Everyone Thinks and Feels - eBook  -     By: Thomas Cahill
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The Gifts of the Jews: How a Tribe of Desert Nomads Changed the Way Everyone Thinks and Feels - eBook

Anchor Books / 2010 / ePub

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Product Description

In The Gifts of the Jews, Thomas Cahill (Desire of The Everlasting Hills) 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 irrevocably until ancient Jews began to see time differently, as a narrative whose triumphant conclusion would come in the future. Full of compelling stories, insights, and humor, The Gifts of the Jews is an irresistable exploration of the origins of some of our oldest and most closely held beliefs. This is Volume II of The Hinges of History.

Product Information

Format: DRM Protected ePub
Vendor: Anchor Books
Publication Date: 2010
ISBN: 9780307755117
ISBN-13: 9780307755117
Availability: In Stock

Publisher's Description

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.

BONUS MATERIAL: This ebook edition includes an excerpt from Thomas Cahill's Heretics and Heroes.

Author Bio

Thomas Cahill studied at New York's Union Theological Seminary, Columbia University, Fordham University, and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America with some of the nation's most distinguished literary and biblical scholars.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

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  1. David Gough
    Alexandria, VA
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: male
    3 Stars Out Of 5
    A story half-told
    June 8, 2013
    David Gough
    Alexandria, VA
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: male
    Quality: 3
    Value: 3
    Meets Expectations: 3
    This review was written for The Gifts of the Jews.
    I wasn't sure what I was getting into when I purchased a copy of Thomas Cahill's "The Gifts of the Jews." Having read and enjoyed his "How the Irish Saved Civilization," I was hoping for more than I found in this one. The positive side of the book is that it is very well written and flows in an interesting and entertaining manner. In a style that blends humor with the academic, it relates the story of the Jewish people from pre-Abrahamic days through the end of the Old Testament. It is, in a sense, it is an Old Testament theology presented with a theologically-liberal bias. Cahill captures much of the ethical teaching of the Old Testament while claiming that most of the stories are mythical, thereby missing their true point. Numerous passages are quoted, but very few with references or annotation. I found this to be an annoying weakness to the book. Although he provides much food for thought, the fact that he does not believe the Scriptures to have been inspired (and, therefore, not inerrant) seriously weakens his credibility with evangelical readers. In fact, he takes a pretty harsh slap at those individuals near the end of the book when he writes, "It is no longer possible to believe that every word of the Bible was inspired by God. Fundamentalists still do, but they can keep up self-delusion only by scrupulously avoiding all forms of scientific inquiry." In other words, he believes they are not as smart as he is! Being confronted with such a charge, Cahill puts me in mind of a Bart Ehrman...although I believe I would find Cahill to be a much more interesting dinner companion. The author can be crude at times and is also guilty of assuming what has no basis except in his own thought. But the most serious criticism of the book is his omission of any serious discussion concerning the messianic hope of the Jews, which was realized by those who welcomed the first advent Jesus Christ. Cahill makes no outward claim to being a "Christian," at least in the historic and traditional sense of the word, so his failure to recognize that everything contained in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms pointed to Jesus (cf. Luke 24:44) is at least understandable (but not forgivable). The liberal sources cited at the end of the book reveal the school of theological thought he comes from. I would not recommend this book to many, and I am more than a little dismayed at an earlier reviewer who found it helpful for a group Bible study.
  2. Cindie Postell
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    September 15, 2010
    Cindie Postell
    This review was written for Gifts of the Jews.
    This is a wonderful book for understanding just what the impact of the decisions of the patriarch of israel made on the way we think today. It goes beyond the understanding you gain from Hebrew 101 to how the people lived life and practiced faith.I have used it in a Women's Group and most are finding it very revealing.
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