Close Encounters with People of the Past
Lecture by Thomas Cahill, author of “How the Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland’s Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe” and “Mysteries of the Middle Ages.”
Given at the American University in Cairo on April 1, 2009
The Hinges of History, his seven-volume series, recounts decisive moments in Western civilization. The first book, How the Irish Saved Civilization, tells the story of fifth century Irish monks who copied and thereby preserved the heritage of Western civilization. The book stayed on the New York Times bestseller list for almost two years.
Cahill has studied with some of America’s most distinguished literary and biblical scholars. Born in New York City to Irish-American parents and raised in the Bronx, he was educated by the Jesuits and studied ancient Greek and Latin. He continued his study of Greek and Latin literature, as well as medieval philosophy, scripture and theology, at Fordham University, where he completed both a BA in classical literature and philosophy, and a pontifical degree in philosophy. He went on to complete his MFA in film and dramatic literature at Columbia University and studied scripture at New York’s Union Theological Seminary. He recently spent two years as a visiting scholar at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America.
Cahill has taught at Queens College, Fordham University and Seton Hall University. He has also served as the North American education correspondent for the Times of London, and was 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. Cahill is the author of 10 books, including his most recent publications, Mysteries of the Middle Ages: And the Beginning of the Modern World and A Saint on Death Row.