A Very Brief History of Eternity - Carlos Eire

Beautiful writing! And a wealth of ideas -- I am delighted to report that Eire's books with footnotes are just as much fun to read as his books without them. Snappy prose on a weighty subject -- highly recommended!


I could go on about how the structure of the book mirrors its topic, how amazing it is that Eire covers such a wealth of philosophical, religious, and scientific ideas in such a small number of pages -- but I hardly know where to start. Really, it's amazing! Eire covers (seemingly) everything and everybody with any impact on Western civilization -- Gilgamesh, the Zoroastrians, Dante, Charles Dickens, Emily Dickinson, the scholastics, Darwin, Meister Eckhart, Albert Einstein, Karl Marx, Pope John Paul II, Richard Dawkins -- it's absolutely astounding!


Of course, Eire writes from a Roman Catholic perspective -- some will find his work unsatisfactory for that reason alone. Which I think is unjust. Professor Eire lays out his premises very clearly, states what he is going to do, and then does it with grace and expertise. I couldn't ask for more from a book -- I loved it!


That said, it is not the book to read if you want (for instance) an in depth discussion of Zen Buddhist concepts of time. That would be a fascinating book -- but it is not this one. This book is about the history of the idea of eternity in Western civilization, and if that idea -- or professor Eire's vivid, snappy prose -- holds any attraction for you, you should read it, because you will definitely enjoy it.