Friday, March 23, 2007

Sunday Morning Coming Down

A quick hit today as time grows more precious.

If your idea of history is dates and places, then this might not be the book for you. But if history is, for you, the story of how we got to where we are today, then Sunday: A History of the First Day from Babylonia to the Super Bowl is the book for you.

Craig Harline's engaging take on the ways and customs of the celebration of our "day of rest" ranges across the ages and cultures of Western civilization. He admits in his preface that a global study would be immense, so he captures brief vignettes of societies and the ways the honored (or dishonored) the first day of the week.

He pretty much settles the debate over whether Sunday (as Northern Europeans call it) is a vestige of the Roman Sun Day, capturing the sometimes anti-Judaism justifications of churchmen through the ages. The myths and mysteries of Sundays through the centuries are described through individuals who lived in each of the times. I think his technique is distinctly original.

Sunday: A History of the First Day From Babylonia to the Super Bowl by Craig Harline
ISBN 9780385510394 Doubleday, March 2007 (Hardcover) $26

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