Gift of The Jews by Thomas Cahill

The Gifts of the Jews

The Gifts of the Jews is a book that explores the critical change that made western civilization possible. The book reveals how life was seen as part of an endless cycle of birth and death, and time was like a wheel, spinning ceaselessly within the matrix of ancient religions and philosophies.

However, the ancient Jews began to see time differently, and this change led to a new conception of men and women as individuals with unique destinies. This conception informed the Declaration of Independence and our hopeful belief in progress and the sense that tomorrow can be better than today.

The book narrates this momentous shift and explains the real significance of such Biblical figures as Abraham and Sarah, Moses and the Pharaoh, Joshua, Isaiah, and Jeremiah. It also shows the value of revering the past while standing in the present moment and looking forward to the future.

The Jews developed an integrated view of life and its obligations. They saw life as governed by a single outlook, saw the connection between the realms of law and wisdom, and saw God as One, the universe’s principle of unity.

What I Liked

Cahill’s books are always well-written and interesting. I like how he covers topics where most Americans know the broad contours from school, but where he can go much more in depth.

What I Did Not Like

He’s not a professional historian, so he seems to take some facts a bit too far. But otherwise, the book is very engaging.

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