A Very Brief History of Eternity

Carlos Eire, Author . Princeton Univ. $24.95 (268p) ISBN 978-0-691-13357-7

Readers of Eire’s award-winning memoir, Waiting for Snow in Havana , won’t be surprised by the tongue-in-cheek title of the Yale history professor’s latest book. Despite its heady topic, Eire’s engaging style and sense of humor keep things light enough to carry readers through a history of “how conceptions of forever , or eternity, have evolved in Western culture, and what role these conceptions have played in shaping our own self-understanding, personally and collectively.” Beginning in the ancient cradle of civilization and ending with the postmodern present, the author addresses both religious and secular notions of eternity in the context of how people throughout time have treated such mysteries and conundrums as what happens after death and the relationship of time to space. Diagrams, photos and artistic representations accompanied by Eire’s commentary illustrate difficult concepts or provide visual representation of how people have conceived of eternity in reincarnation, mystical experience, heaven and enduring truth. Eire gives readers so much to think about and in such an entertaining manner that he can be excused for occasionally overreaching. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 10/05/2009
Release date: 10/01/2009
Genre: Religion
Paperback - 268 pages - 978-0-691-15250-9
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-1-4008-3187-6
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