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  • Through the Eye of a Needle: Wealth, the Fall of Rome, and the Making of Christianity in the West, 350-550 AD

    • UNABRIDGED (31 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Peter Brown
    • Narrated By Fleet Cooper
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (92)
    Performance
    (76)
    Story
    (73)

    Jesus taught his followers that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven. Yet by the fall of Rome, the church was becoming rich beyond measure. Through the Eye of a Needle is a sweeping intellectual and social history of the vexing problem of wealth in Christianity in the waning days of the Roman Empire, written by the world's foremost scholar of late antiquity.

    Jacobus says: "A learned, well-balanced postmodern history"
    "Excellent book but irritating, distracting reader"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What would have made Through the Eye of a Needle better?

    There is no better writer on Christianity and Late Antiquity than Peter Brown. Everything he writes is good. The shame is that this outstanding book had such a poor reader.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Through the Eye of a Needle?

    In this volume, the characterizations of Jerome and Augustine were especially enlightening. Brown's "thick description" of the social history of benefaction in pagan and later in Christian society makes the light come on with regard to why people said and did what they are recorded as saying and doing from 350-550 CE. The final summary is masterful.


    What didn’t you like about Fleet Cooper’s performance?

    Fleet Cooper's performance was barely competent. First, he displayed absolutely no knowledge of the subject. When you are reading fiction, that's not so important, but a scholarly non-fiction study requires someone who is not just calling words, but actually performing the text. I finally lost track of his numerous mispronunciations. One that stands out is bi-shop'-rick for bishopric. I'll give him "bass relief" for bas relief, since some dictionaries include it but it is jarring. Most of his Latin pronunciation was equally jarring, but again, Latin pronunciation is disputed.
    The phrasing and pauses were all wrong. Every time he came to a word of more than two syllables he stopped to take a breath as though he had to think before pronouncing the word. What ever happened to rehearsal?
    If the content had not been so captivating I would have quit listening by the second chapter.


    What character would you cut from Through the Eye of a Needle?

    That's a question for a fiction book, not a history of ideas.


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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