We are in the midst of Holy Week leading up to Easter, and my natural tendency would be to recommend something liturgical and sacred during this time. I’m not going to do that. Instead, I’m making a secular book recommendation: Dominion by Tom Holland.
Tom Holland (not the Spider-man actor) is an agnostic historian. His area of expertise is classical history (the ancient Persians, Greeks, Romans, etc.) I’ve mentioned him before in a podcast recommendation post. Though raised in the Anglican church tradition, he is not a Christian. He is, however, delightfully entertaining and refreshingly honest.
Dominion: The Making of the Western Mind
In this book, Dominion: The Making of the Western Mind, Tom Holland makes the case that Christianity, and specifically the crucifixion of Jesus, has been and continues to be the most influential factor in defining Western culture and society.
I’m not going to give you a full review. I’ll just say that I wholeheartedly recommend it, though with a content warning, given the brutal nature of crucifixion and the society in general at that time. For a better summary of what Dominion is about, watch this clip of Tom Holland himself explaining it.
Perhaps you just can’t bring yourself to read a 600-page history tome. If not, I would recommend that you at least watch this video of Tom speaking about the crucifixion and persecution with the Open Doors charity.
Beautiful Scandalous Night
I said I wouldn’t recommend something liturgical and sacred, but I changed my mind. I’ve long been a fan of The Choir and, specifically, their song “Beautiful Scandalous Night”, but this book and these talks have helped me to better understand just how scandalous that night actually was.