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The special guest speaker for the Spring 2009 Cairo Lectures April 1-4, was Thomas Cahill, the author of the best-selling books, How the Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland's Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe, The Gifts of the Jews: How a Tribe of Desert Nomads Changed the Way Everyone Thinks and Feels, Desire of the Everlasting Hills: The World Before and After Jesus, Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea: Why the Greeks Matter, and Mysteries of the Middle Ages: The Rise of Feminism, Science, and Art from the Cults of Catholic Europe.
These books comprise Volumes I, II, III, IV, and V respectively of "The Hinges of History," a prospective seven-volume series in which the author recounts formative moments in Western civilization. Thomas Cahill is best known, in his books and lectures, for taking on a broad scope of complex history and distilling it into a remarkably accessible, illuminating and entertaining narrative. He writes history, not in its usual terms of war and atrocity, but by inviting his audience into an ancient world to commune with some of the most influential people who ever lived.
A lifelong scholar, Thomas Cahill has studied with some of America's most distinguished literary and biblical scholars. Born in New York City to Irish-American parents, he studied Greek and Latin literature, as well as medieval philosophy, scripture and theology, at Fordham University, where he completed both a B.A. in classical literature and philosophy, and a pontifical degree in philosophy. He went on to complete his M.F.A. in film and dramatic literature at Columbia University. He studied scripture at New York's Union Theological Seminary, and recently spent two years as a Visiting Scholar at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, where he studied Hebrew and the Hebrew Bible in preparation for writing The Gifts of the Jews. He also reads French and Italian. In 1999, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Alfred University in New York.
Thomas Cahill has taught at Queens College, Fordham University, and Seton Hall University, served as the North American education correspondent for the Times of London, and was for many years a regular contributor to the Los Angeles Times Book Review. Prior to retiring to write full-time, he was Director of Religious Publishing at Doubleday for six years. He and his wife divide their time between New York and Rome.
Thomas Cahill’s speaking schedule for The Cairo Lectures entailed:
April 1 at 5:30 PM---a lecture at The American University of Cairo, titled “Close Encounters with People of the Past” (an overview of Thomas Cahill’s Hinges of History series)
April 4 at 7 PM--The Cairo Lecture at St. John’s Church/Maadi, titled “Mysteries, Myths and Truths: The Beginning of the Modern World” (on his recent book, Mysteries of the Middle Ages).
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