• Desire of the Everlasting Hills

  • The World Before and After Jesus
  • By: Thomas Cahill
  • Narrated by: Brian F. O'Byrne
  • Length: 9 hrs and 16 mins
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (190 ratings)

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Desire of the Everlasting Hills

By: Thomas Cahill
Narrated by: Brian F. O'Byrne
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Publisher's Summary

From the best-selling author of How the Irish Saved Civilization and The Gifts of the Jews, his most compelling historical narrative yet.

How did an obscure rabbi from a backwater of the Roman Empire come to be the central figure in Western Civilization? Did his influence in fact change the world? These are the questions Thomas Cahill addresses in his subtle and engaging investigation into the life and times of Jesus. 

Cahill shows us Jesus from his birth to his execution through the eyes of those who knew him and in the context of his time - a time when the Jews were struggling to maintain their beliefs under overlords who imposed their worldview on their subjects. Here is Jesus the loving friend, itinerate preacher, and quiet revolutionary, whose words and actions inspired his followers to journey throughout the Roman world and speak the truth he instilled - in the face of the greatest defeat: Jesus' crucifixion as a common criminal. Daring, provocative, and stunningly original, Cahill's interpretation will both delight and surprise.

©1999 Thomas Cahill (P)1999 Random House Publishing, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Divertingly instructive - gratifying.... [Cahill] makes Jesus a still-living literary presence." (The New York Times)

"Engaging. Cahill strips away the pious accretions of 2000 years so that a picture of Jesus as an actual human being emerges." (BookPage)

"Cahill's writing is straightforward and translates well to audio. O'Byrne's Irish accent gives a flavor to the reading without interfering with the material...one is glad to be listening, rather than merely reading." (AudioFile

What listeners say about Desire of the Everlasting Hills

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Desire Delivers

This was the most comprehensive and level handed book dealing with Jesus as a historical figure and spiritual leader that I have ever had the pleasure of reading (hearing). The author does a brilliant job of developing the historical frame-work leading up to Jesus. He moves the reader through the pre-Jesus influences of early middle eastern society and then relates the radical nature of Jesus's teachings as backdropped by the historical settings of his time. The discussion and review of Jesus' personal history and the churchs early development is both rational and even handed.

I completly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to all listeners that are interested in Jesus life, times, and impacts.

15 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

for the layman...

this book was extremely informative, giving much historical background information in order to establish the context of biblical event in bibical times. it's a great read for those of us who don't have a degree in biblical scholarship or ancient history. at the same time, the facts are not dry, but the narrative is rich and interesting. altogether, a very good 'read'.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A Beautiful and Profound Book

I write this review with a curious mixture of melancholy, satisfaction and happiness as I just completed listening to Desire of the Everlasting Hills -- and I'm frankly sorry I've completed the book. No series of sleep-inducing sermons, Cahill brings the great events, cultures and people of the New Testament and early Christian eras literally to life. Even the most hardened and cynical nihilist may find this book's tenets and interpretations difficult to dismiss. Many times while listening to the extraordinary stories of these great but very real people who were largely unbeknownst to me previously, I found myself overwhelmed by the profound humanity in the writing. Moreover, Cahill's portrait of Jesus -- a man I so often wish I truly knew -- was beyond description. My personal view is that those who are on the path of exploring their spirituality and working towards that perennially elusive state called self-actualization, may greatly benefit from reading this work. Intuitively imparting compelling non-dogmatic lessons and the corresponding actions (very relevant for all of us who shake our heads, wring our hands, and fret over our inability as one person to do anything about the vast scale of tragedies all around our troubled world), the author leaves us with exemplars who demonstrate by their actions what we can possibly do to make the world a better place. These are some of the things that I have taken from Cahill's wonderful book to date, and I intend to purchase a physical copy and return to it as a reference for many years to come.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A delight

I liked it very much. Being attracted by history and religion, this one satisfied my tastes entirely. I liked the temperate presentation free of ecstatic exigency. I am not a Christian myself and I am definitely not a fan of religious organizations of whatever religious denomination. This book is about the core values and that is why I am releasing five stars.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Book allowed me to re-Saul-t my Christianity

This book made me reevaluate my opinions on both Paul (Saul) and John the Evangelist. Untill hearing this book I had alway prefered my Christianity un-Saul-ted.
I enjoyed the listen although the narrator's brogue got a little much at times.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Great depth of knowledge, accessibly articulated

Cahill is obviously a person of deep understanding on the topic. The time he had spent researching is also evident. He puts this all together with his typical clarity and insight. Easy to understand, but the subject matter and its implications will stay with you.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A profound book

I want to express to Mr. Cahill my appreciation for his incredible book, “Desire of the Everlasting Hills - The World Before and After Jesus”. This sentence, in particular, touches my heart: "Is not the desire of the everlasting hills that they be saved from their everlastingness, that something new happen, that the everlasting cycle of human cruelty, of man's inhumanity to man, be brought to an end?" It brings to mind the eternal hope from Isaiah 2:4:

“He shall judge between the nations,
and shall decide disputes for many peoples;
and they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war anymore.”

I have purchased several copies of Mr. Cahill’s book for friends as well as the wonderful audio performance by Mr. Brian O'Byrne on CD, cassette and Audiobooks which I have loaned several times over. This is a profound book that I constantly refer to in my Disciple Bible Study group and with anyone who listens.

Recently, we were in Rome, and I dearly want to find the landmarks he referenced in the Introduction. Unfortunately, time did not permit it…this time. Perhaps, next time. It was a trip we tacked onto the end of a Holy Lands tour our church has sponsored. Next year, I think our church is headed along the route of the Apostle Paul, which Mr. Cahill vividly also brings to life.

I also enjoyed Mr. Cahill’s book, “How the Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland's Heroic Role From the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe”, which my dad gave me as a Christmas gift before he passed away, some years ago. But it is “Desire of the Everlasting Hills” that has caused me to write this..

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Inspirational

Cahill writes with clearing and profound understanding of the life and times of Jesus

I found it especially meaningful during this time of Lent.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great reading! Highly recommended

This was my first Audible book and What a treat it was! The Irish accent of the narrator gives this book an aire of its Irish author. The book itself is invigorating for well read Christians who are familiar with history of Western Civilization and the New Testament. The book sets the time of Jesus’s life against the backdrop of Alexander The Great’s transformation of the Middle East followed by the ascension and dominant rule by the Romans.

The second half is a dabbling portrait of Paul and the stories of the early church. A fascinating human collage of the early church communities. A very good summary of each and how Paul was able to lead and inspire them all.

The last part of the book has some good recent stories and examples of mission churches and a strong general indictment of the organized church and slavery and oppression and war. A vigorous ending full with hope.

I feel hopeful and energized and comfortable that I am still on the road of discovery and searching for my mission and how I can help others and love God with all my heart and love neighbors as i love myself.

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A Gift of Grace

Thomas Cahill and his wonderful reader have given us a book full of faith,grace,insight and wisdom.It reintroduced this old sinner to the Jesus of love ,kindness and justice.I am grateful and humbled and I look forward to listening to Gift of the Jews.