The Gifts of the Jews

The Gifts of the Jews

How a Tribe of Desert Nomads Changed the Way Everyone Thinks and Feels

By Thomas Cahill

Anchor Books, Paperback, 9780385482493, 304pp.

Publication Date: August 16, 1999


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.

About the Author
THOMAS CAHILL is the author of the three previous volumes in the Hinges of History series: "How the Irish Saved Civilization," "The Gifts of the Jews," and "Desire of the Everlasting Hills," They have been bestsellers, not only in the United States but also in countries ranging from Italy to Brazil. Cahill was recently invited to address the U.S. Congress on the Judeo-Christian roots of moral responsibility in American politics. He and his wife, Susan, also a writer, divide their time between New York and Rome.

Praise For The Gifts of the Jews

"Persuasive as well as entertaining...Mr. Cahill's book [is] a gift."--Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, The New York Times

"An outstanding and very readable book...highly recommended."--Library Journal

"A very good read, a dramatically effective, often compelling retelling of the Hebrew Bible."--Charles Gold, Chicago Sun Times

"This is a valuable book, of interest to everyone, religious or not."
--Washington Times

"A highly readable, entrancing journey."
--San Francisco Chronicle