Book review: The Greatest Spiritual Secret of the Century

Old news for some, but the “Secret” may interest Christian readers

Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

Thom Hartman uses “A Christmas Carol” structure to reinterpret sections of the Bible within a broader spiritual context.

Story: When Paul Abler, a young newspaper reporter, risks his own life to save that of a little girl, he begins an adventure unlike any he could imagine. Down in the echoing tunnels underneath Manhattan, where the homeless hide from the police, he meets a strange man who gives him one amazing insight after another. Paul’s life undergoes vast changes as he experiences, for himself, the timeless moment of the universe’s creation, the joyful surprise of finding true love, and an extraordinary truth that completely alters his life. (From

Spiritual/metaphysical content: High. After risking his life to save another, Paul is deemed worthy to enter the Wisdom School, where three wise teachers journey with him into the past, present, and future to teach him the “true meaning of the Secret” so that he can become a teacher himself. With Noah, he travels to 3,000 B.C. in the city of Ur, where he learns such things as that the Bible includes many guidelines covering hygiene, property law, and common sense specific to that time and region. That the Garden of Eden is a particular tribe’s creation story, and that each tribe around world has their own. After learning some of the fundamentals, he pops back into the present. Escorted by a homeless man, he ventures into century-old train tunnels under New York. There he meets Joshua, a mystical figure who leads a group of people who choose to be homeless rather than subject themselves to the strictures of our corporate culture. He then meets a wondrous being named Wisdom who reveals the Spiritual Secret and Paul’s true mission.

My take:

Hartmann uses the time-trodden story structure of A Christmas Carol to introduce readers to a range of basic spiritual principles. Much of the book focuses on putting the Bible into a historical context and interpreting some elements within a broader spiritual perspective, similar to Neale Donald Walsch’s Conversations With God series. Although the book is quite readable, Hartmann’s writing style is bland, and the plot leaves little room for either suspense or unexpected twists. So what is the Greatest Spiritual Secret of the Century? It differs for each person, I would think. New age fiction is broad enough to encompass nearly every belief. Hartmann’s version didn’t precisely align with my personal philosophy, but it may be a perfect fit for those seeking to move beyond the Christian tradition to broader universal truths. No spoilers here–you’ll have to read the book yourself to learn the secret. For many, it may be well worth the journey.

The Greatest Spiritual Secret of the Century, by Thom Hartmann
Published by Hampton Roads Publishing Company, 2000
Paperback, 262 pages


One thought on “Book review: The Greatest Spiritual Secret of the Century

  1. Pingback: Book review: Dancing in the Shadows of Love « Fiction for a New Age

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