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Thomas Cahill

Discussion in 'World History' started by thedirk, Jul 21, 2003.

  1. thedirk

    thedirk Master of Stealth

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    Anyone out there read Thomas Cahill's books? I'm thinking in particular about the three books he's published so far in his "Hinges of History" series. Those are How the Irish Saved Civilization, The Gifts of the Jews, and Desire of the Everlasting Hills What do you think of his general arguments about the development of "western civilization?"
     
  2. thedirk

    thedirk Master of Stealth

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    You mean nobody out there either loves or hates Cahill? If you have not read Cahill his books are certainly worth reading if you live in Europe or North America. They are easy to read and not too long compared to most history books (he writes for a popular audience, not just academics).
     
  3. ChrTh

    ChrTh Happy Yule!

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    I've read Desire of the Everlasting Hills. Some interesting stuff, but it appears he can't decide between history and theology, and as a result the work suffers.
    I like how he blows off the gnostics, though, with a single sentence. :)
     
  4. thedirk

    thedirk Master of Stealth

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    True, he does get into theology and philosophy in these books, but that is part of his overall thesis. And when you are writing about Jesus and his impact on the western world it's hard to avoid theology.
     
  5. ChrTh

    ChrTh Happy Yule!

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    Well, yes and no. The point is, either write about the history or write about the theology, not do a half-butted job with both.

    My other problem was his incorrect interpretation of the Good Samaritan story...that bugs me. If I know the meaning/story behind it and he doesn't, what else did he get wrong?
     
  6. thedirk

    thedirk Master of Stealth

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    I don't have a problem with him combining the two if that's what he wants to do. As long as he's honest about what he is doing and not trying to deceive the reader about his agenda it's OK. I don't agree with all his conclusions myself, but found his thesis about the Jewish origins of western civilization to be interesting and worth further reflection and/or study. (This thesis comes through most strongly in The Gifts of the Jews.
     

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