Of all the 40 books I read in 2010, I have to say that Desire of the Everlasting Hills was the best. Desire serves as a sort of prequel to Thomas Cahill’s How The Irish Saved Civilization, and somehow surpasses it in scope and depth.
The book begins with a serious question that “the faithful” spend our time avoiding. Reality being that Jesus is the most important figure in Western, perhaps world history, “Did he make a Difference?”
Cahill takes this question on by delving first into the world before Jesus, and then reminisces on his life and works of Jesus and the writers of the New Testament. Cahill can neither be described as liberal or fundamentalist. While he gives serious weight to the work source criticism, the study of sources behind the existing cannon, and thereby the evolution of the understanding of Jesus, he also has a clear love and respect for the Bible and it’s authors. His distance and skepticism makes Desire an approachable read for skeptics and worthwhile for Christ-followers.
Cahill is quick to point out how some forms of Christianity are incongruous with how he reads the scriptures. Yet, chapter after chapter, I found myself smiling and thinking about how much I love Jesus, Paul, Luke and John, and how grateful I am to be a part of their tradition.
So did Jesus make a difference? You’ll have to read it to find out.