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From Barnes & NobleMost of Europe has been Christian for more than 1,000 years. And as Europeans have conquered and colonized in the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Australia, they have imposed various forms of their religion on the people they encountered to the point where Christianity is, today, the most dominant monotheistic faith in the world. But so what? What does it mean? Did Jesus actually change anything?
This last question is the central query of Thomas Cahill's Desire of the Everlasting Hills, and to get at his answer, Cahill examines the Greek, Roman, and Jewish worlds of the centuries immediately before and immediately after the life of Christ, frequently flitting to more recent centuries for details of comparison.
Cahill's Hinges of History series, which includes How the Irish Saved Civilization and The Gifts of the Jews, is not focused on telling the details of the past. Instead, Cahill wants to explore themes and trace patterns of profound influence through centuries of development. To that end, Desire of the Everlasting Hills is not a history of Christianity, but the story of Jesus' influence on history. That Christ's name has been used for centuries to justify almost all of the world's most barbaric acts of aggression and neglect is not at issue in Cahill's book. Rather, he asks what those naked acts of inhumanity, still thriving around the world today, reveal about Jesus' impact.