Thomas Cahill Quotes

Enjoy the top 20 famous quotes, sayings and quotations by Thomas Cahill.

Thomas Cahill Quotes

The Irish innovation was to make all confession a completely private affair between penitent and priest - and to make it as repeatable as necessary. (In fact, repetition was encouraged on the theory that, oh well, everyone pretty much sinned just about all the time.)
— Thomas Cahill —

Wherever they went the Irish brought with them their books, many unseen in Europe for centuries and tied to their waists as signs of triumph, just as Irish heroes had once tied to their waists their enemies' heads. Where they went they brought their love of learning and their skills in bookmaking. In the bays and valleys of their exile, they reestablished literacy and breathed new life into the exhausted literary culture of Europe.
And that is how the Irish saved civilization.

— Thomas Cahill

Is is seldom possible to say of the medievals that they *always* did one thing and *never* another; they were marvelously inconsistent.

— Thomas Cahill

To the Greek mind, the unwillingness to compromise in religious matters-which were not all that important, anyway-was impious, unpatriotic, maybe even seditious. For the Jews, religion was the Way of Life; it had nothing in common with the empty rituals of the Greeks.

— Thomas Cahill

That the Roman empire was, like all its predecessors, a form of extortion by force, an enriching of well-connected Romans (who "make a desolation and call it peace") at the expense of hapless conquered peoples, would also not have carried much weight with most readers. Hadn't Philip of Macedon's first conquest been the seizure of the Balkan gold mines? Hadn't Alexander's last planned campaign been for the sake of controlling the lucrative Arabian spice trade? How could anyone demur over such things? What would be the point of holding out against the nature of man and of the universe itself? Augustus set up in the midst of the Roman Forum a statue of himself that loomed eleven times the size of a normal man,10 and similarly awesome statues were erected in central shrines throughout the empire. Augustus was not a normal man; he was a god, deserving of worship. And, like all gods, he was terrifying.

— Thomas Cahill

We normally think of history as one catastrophe after another, war followed by war, outrage by outrage - almost as if history were nothing more than all the narratives of human pain, assembled in sequence. And surely this is, often enough, an adequate description. But history is also the narratives of grace, the recountings of those blessed and inexplicable moments when someone did something for someone else, saved a life, bestowed a gift, gave something beyond what was required by circumstance.

— Thomas Cahill

The Jews started it all-and by 'it' I mean so many of the things we care about, the underlying values that make all of us, Jew and Gentile, believer and aethiest, tick. Without the Jews, we would see the world through different eyes, hear with different ears, even feel with different feelings ... we would think with a different mind, interpret all our experience differently, draw different conclusions from the things that befall us. And we would set a different course for our lives.

— Thomas Cahill

We can hardly get up in the morning or cross the street without being Jewish. We dream Jewish dreams and hope Jewish hopes. Most of our best words, in fact - new, adventure, surprise; unique, individual, person, vocation; time, history, future; freedom, progress, spirit; faith, hope, justice - are the gifts of the Jews.

— Thomas Cahill

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