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Most literature in the Western culture sits on the three-legged stool of mythology, the Bible, and Shakespeare. Exposure to those three areas means you have an easier time accessing literature, music, art, politics, history, government and jokes in Western culture.  You really don't want to be me standing in the National Gallery staring up at the enormous, brilliant Ruebens' canvas and have your youngest son say in a voice loud enough to carry through three galleries, "Mom, who's Daniel?" :tongue_smilie:I have a somewhat pain-free suggestion for you on this point if you are interested.






I am interested.  We are not religious but obviously need the cultural knowledge.  Right now I think DD knows more Norse, Greek, Native American, etc. mythology than she knows about Bible characters and stories.


It was a real weakness in my humanities education (I have an English degree) and I never managed to remediate it all that well myself.  I am only vaguely familiar with who Daniel is.  Maybe he was eaten by a lion?  Why or when or with whom I have no idea.

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From perspective of Bible as Lit., I highly recommend anything by Prof. Amy-Jill Levine (her enthusiasm is infectious, she loves her subject) and Bart D. Eherman (not engaging like Levine, but has interesting points).


There are courses entitled "Biblical Wisdom Literature",and "Story of the Bible" and the historical, "The World of Biblical Israel": but I'm not familiar with the professors.


On a personal note, I don't think all lectures are for those less firm in their faith, or going through a difficult time. So, I recommend previewing. Of cpurse, none of these courses replace the reading of the Bible yourself and have both Jewish and Christian study Bibles, commentaries, and maps to read alongside.


Amy-Jill Levine was actually in charge of bringing together Jewish scholars to put forth their commentary on 'The Jewish Annotated New Testament'.

Edited by historymatters

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I don't think it's been suggested yet, but I'm enjoying, and will likely have my young adults listen to or watch, "The Skeptics Guide to American History."


I'm on lecture 12 of 24. So far, I only have one major disagreement. We'll see if I have to come back after I finish to un-recommend it!


I downloaded the audio from Audible and have watched it on GCPlus. Either one is fine, IMO.

Edited by historymatters
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If you are going to do a chronological Great Books program that pairs with the 4-year history cycle, then, in my opinion, the most practical "plug and play" Great Courses lecture series is Great Authors of the Western Literary Tradition. The 84 lecture courses used to really bite your budget, but these days you can pick up a used set of DVDs on Amazon for cheap or the audio from Audible.


If I use the same time frame that Susan Wise Bauer uses in TWTM (pp. 494-497, 3rd ed.), to organize the GAWLT lectures , your 4-year schedule would look something like this:


Ninth Grade - Ancient History

GAWLT - Lectures 1 (Foundations) through 22 (Petronius and Apuleius)


Tenth Grade - Medieval History

GAWLT - Lectures 23 (The Gospels) through Lecture 44 (William Shakespeare - Hamlet)


Eleventh Grade - Early Modern

Lecture 45 (Lope de Vega) through Lecture 64 (Herman Melville)


Twelfth Grade - Modern

Lecture 65 (Walt Whitman) through Lecture 83 (Samuel Beckett) and 84 (Conclusion)


That's only 21 or so lectures per year, but you will build off of that. I can break those out separately in the morning.


Hey- I bought this for $48 when GC had their employee pricing.


I think it will do exactly what I need. I'm going to use an Anthology of World Lit set and a few stand alone novels. I have the TEs for the Anthologies and both EIL British and World. I think I can build nice flexible courses around these with plenty of discussion and writing. The course book looks handy for background info, but the questions are pretty light.

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I know this is an older thread, but I just stumbled on this site over the summer.


For a $19.99 monthly fee you get access to many of the videos, streaming. I was able to get a deal for 1 month free, and 2 months half off. Not sure if they are offering any deals now.



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