Week 1

Week 1: Monday, October 7, 2019
The Western Tradition

What is civilization?
What is the Western Tradition?
What is Western Civilization?
And why doesn't our educational system want to teach it any more?
What is the state of the Western Tradition today?
What is the state of the teaching of the Western Tradition?
European critics of the Western Tradition:
Claude Levi-Strauss (1908–2009 )
Michel Foucault (1926–1984)
Paul De Man (1919–1983)
Jacques Derrida (1930–2004)
Edward Said (1935–2003)
Triumph of the European critics in American universities in the 1970's

One Definition of Civilization:
Winston Churchill was one of the greatest heroes of Western civilization. On July 2, 1938, at the height of the Sudetenland crisis, he delivered the Chancellor’s Address at the University of Bristol. In a short but powerful speech Churchill, a master of the English language, gave as eloquent a statement of the Anglo-American tradition of liberty and civilization as has ever been uttered.
"There are few words which are used more loosely than the word 'Civilization.' What does it mean? It means a society based upon the opinion of civilians. It means that violence, the rule of warriors and despotic chiefs, the conditions of camps and warfare, of riot and tyranny, give place to parliaments where laws are made, and independent courts of justice in which over long periods those laws are maintained. That is Civilization—and in its soil grow continually freedom, comfort and culture. When Civilization reigns, in any country, a wider and less harassed life is afforded to the masses of the people. The traditions of the past are cherished, and the inheritance bequeathed to us by former wise or valiant men becomes a rich estate to be enjoyed and used by all. The central principle of Civilization is the subordination of the ruling authority to the settled customs of the people and to their will as expressed through the Constitution. In this Island we have today achieved in a high degree the blessings of Civilization. There is freedom: there is law; there is love of country; there is a great measure of good will between classes: there is a widening prosperity. There are unmeasured opportunities of correcting abuses and making further progress."
Source: Winston S. Churchill, Blood, Sweat, and Tears, Randolph S. Churchill, ed. (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1941), pp. 45–46

RECOMMENDED READING: David Denby, Great Books

This is a wonderful book. David Denby went back to Columbia where he had been an undergraduate many years before, and did the Humanities course sequence again and wrote this fascinating record of his experiences with the students and their reactions to the great books. It will serve you all as a delightful parallel experience to our own class. As you read and discuss the books in our class you can read about the undergraduates at Columbia and their reactions to the same books. But let me suggest the following: wait until AFTER we have read and discussed a book before reading the section in Denby on the same material. Otherwise your reaction will be constantly predetermined by the Denby reaction and the ideas he presents.

David Denby,

Great Books,

Touchstone Books,

ISBN 0684835339

Be sure to see our collection of links in the right sidebar; this week, in particular, please see the ancient world chronology.

2

Week 2: Monday, October 14, 2019
Israel

Israel: the land,

the people,

the history

The Old Testament

 Genesis: Adam, Abraham, Isaac

Moses, Ten Commandments

RECOMMENDED READING

Our text this week is the first book of the Hebrew Bible. The scholarship on the Bible is massive and difficult for the ordinary student. But some understanding of how the Bible was formed is absolutely essential and therefore I am happy to recommend to you all a wonderful book. It is called Who Wrote the Bible? and it is written by Professor Richard Elliott Friedman, of the University of California at San Diego (HarperCollins paperback, ISBN 0060630353). Prof. Friedman has written an important book about an important subject that is a pleasure to read: it is elegant and informative. It will change the way you think about the Hebrew Bible.

Richard Elliot Friedman,

Who Wrote the Bible,

Harper Collins,

ISBN 0060630353

Review:

The contemporary classic the New York Times Book Review called “a thought-provoking [and] perceptive guide,” Who Wrote the Bible? by Richard E. Friedman is a fascinating, intellectual, yet highly readable analysis and investigation into the authorship of the Old Testament. The author of Commentary on the Torah, Friedman delves deeply into the history of the Bible in a scholarly work that is as exciting and surprising as a good detective novel. Who Wrote the Bible? is enlightening, riveting, an important contribution to religious literature, and as the Los Angeles Times aptly observed in its rave review, “There is no other book like this one.”

This is the best book in English about the origins and writing of the Hebrew Bible, the Old Testament.

It is a brilliant exciting book. You will never forget it.

3

Week 3: Monday, October 21, 2019
Homer and The Iliad

Ancient Greece and the origins of the Western Tradition.

Greece: the land, the light, the people.

The Indo-European invaders.

The Bronze Age Charioteers.

Homer and Troy

REQUIRED READING

Homer, Iliad, Book I

Partial copy will be provided to you.

Homer,

The Iliad,

translated by Robert Fagles,

Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition,

ISBN 0140275363

Amazon:

This groundbreaking English version by Robert Fagles is the most important recent translation of Homer's great epic poem. The verse translation has been hailed by scholars as the new standard, providing an Iliad that delights modern sensibility and aesthetic without sacrificing the grandeur and particular genius of Homer's own style and language. The Iliad is one of the two great epics of Homer, and is typically described as one of the greatest war stories of all time, but to say the Iliad is a war story does not begin to describe the emotional sweep of its action and characters: Achilles, Helen, Hector, and other heroes of Greek myth and history in the tenth and final year of the Greek siege of Troy.

RECOMMENDED READING

This is the best new introduction to the world of the ancient Greeks. Edith Hall takes you back to the beginning and then covers the whole Greek story through Alexander the Great. She is both a brilliant writer and an engaging lecturer. If you would like to see her lectures go to Youtube and look her up.

Edith Hall,

Introducing the Ancient Greeks: From Bronze Age Seafarers to Navigators of the Western Mind,

W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (June 16, 2014),

ISBN 0393239985

Reviews

About the Author

4

Week 4: Monday, October 28, 2019
Sophocles

Athens and the Golden Age

Athens: 450 BC

Pericles and his good friend, Sophocles

The miracle of Athens: democracy.

REQUIRED READING

We are reading Oedipus the King in the collection (Oedipus Rex).

Sophocles,

Three Theban Plays,

translated by Robert Fagels,

Penguin Classics,

ISBN 0140444254

5

Week 5: Monday, November 4, 2019
Greece and Alexander

Alexander the Great (356 BC - 323 BC)

King Philip and Macedon

Alexander and Aristotle

A worldwide empire

REQUIRED READING

No required reading

RECOMMENDED READING

Mary Renault,

The Nature of Alexander,

Pantheon Books,

ISBN 039473825X

Peter Green,

Alexander of Macedon,

Penguin Books,

ISBN 0520071654

These two excellent books about Alexander are both in print. The Renault book reads as an essay about Alexander and the literature about him. The Green book is considered the masterpiece of the world's leading expert on Alexander. Renault's book reflects her adoration of Alexander; Green's book is cooler and more academic. Both are excellent and well worth reading.

MORE RECOMMENDED READING: historical fiction

The best introduction to ancient Greece that I know is the historical fiction of Mary Renault:

Mary Renault (4 September 1905–13 December 1983), born Eileen Mary Challans, was an English writer best known for her historical novels set in ancient Greece. In addition to vivid fictional portrayals of Theseus, Socrates, Plato, and Alexander the Great, she wrote a non-fiction biography of Alexander. It is the best short book about him. (The Nature of Alexander)

Historical novels:

The Last of the Wine (1956)—set in Athens during the Peloponnesian War; the narrator is a student of Socrates.

The King Must Die (1958)—the mythical Theseus, up to his father's death

The Bull from the Sea (1962)—the remainder of Theseus' life

The Mask of Apollo (1966)—an actor at the time of Plato and Dionysius the Younger (brief appearance by Alexander near the end of the book)

Fire from Heaven (1969)—Alexander the Great from the age of four up to his father's death

The Persian Boy (1972)—from Bagoas's perspective; Alexander the Great after the conquest of Persia

The Praise Singer (1978)—the poet Simonides of Ceos

Funeral Games (1981)—Alexander's successors

6

Week 6: Monday, November 11, 2019
Greek Philosophy

Above you see Plato and Aristotle as depicted in Raphael's great fresco in

the Vatican called "The School of Athens," and you see the older Plato in red

on the left with his student Aristotle in blue on our right.

These two men create the philosophical structure of Western thought.

 

Greek philosophy and science

Why was Greece unique?

Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Euclid, Ptolemy

The power of abstraction

 

REQUIRED READING

Aristotle, The Categories (Xerox provided)

Euclid, The Elements (Xerox provided)

Ptolemy, The Geography (Xerox provided)

7

Week 7: Monday, November 18, 2019
Rome and Julius Caesar

ROME

 

 

Above you see one of the many sculpted heads of Julius Caesar that have survived from the first century BC. Next to him, you see the best modern version of Caesar, Marlon Brando. Julius Caesar was born in 100 BC; he died on March 15, 44 BC. Caesar may be the most controversial figure in all of European history. For two thousand years, his life and death have marked the end of the Roman Republic and the onset of the Roman Empire. The fate of the Republic has been the most important issue of debate in various periods of European history, as well as in our own US history. In every instance of political crisis, when Western democracies debate the true nature of their political health, the conversation has gone back to Julius Caesar: Was he a tyrant or was he a failed savior of the Roman Republic? For example, in 1215 when they signed the Magna Carta, during the crises of the Tudor century, and also in the Stuart era, men looked to Caesar. In 60 BC, and in 50 BC, that question was the core of the debate among Romans. And then, in 44 BC, the debate was ended with a sword. For our study of the Republic, we must evaluate Julius Caesar, his life, and his career; and we must also try to decide what happened. Was he the final destructive, last chapter of the 500-year old Roman Republic? His life and his dialog with Cicero are the most important sources of information on the issue.

REQUIRED READING

Julius Caesar,

The Conquest of Gaul,

Penguin,

ISBN 0140444335

RECOMMENDED READING

Goldsworthy presents a wonderful exploration of Caesar's life, including his military and political conquests, revealing his personality in a sympathetic telling. Many, many books have been written about Caesar and his time. This one is very accessible and worthwhile, and, I think, the best.

Adrian Goldsworthy,

Caesar: Life of a Colossus,

Yale University Press,

ISBN 0300126891

NEXT WEEK: Thanksgiving Week November 25–29

Classes will not be held the week of November 25 to 29, Thanksgiving vacation.

Students have stated they prefer having the week off; many are traveling for the holidays.

8

Week 8: Monday, December 2, 2019
Rome and Cicero

Rome, Cicero, and the Republic

Cicero and Julius Caesar

Lifelong friends, lifelong enemies.

Cicero and Octavian

Cicero's last days: martyr for freedom.

REQUIRED READING

Cicero,

Selected Works,

translated by Michael Grant,

Penguin Classics,

ISBN 0140440992

In this collection of Cicero's works read the following:

  1. The excellent introduction by Michael Grant
  2. Part One (Section 2) "Selection from His Correspondence"
  3. Part One (Section 3) "The Second Philippic"
RECOMMENDED READING

We are very lucky to have a paperback edition of the wonderful new biography of Cicero available to us for our class this Fall. The Everitt biography is the first new biography of Cicero in many years and it is the best I have ever read. It is a total pleasure and if you find Cicero to be as interesting as I do then you will want to own the Everitt book.

Anthony Everitt,

Cicero: the Life and Times of Rome's Greatest Politician,

New York: Random House (2002),

ISBN 037575895X

9

Week 9: Monday, December 9, 2019
Gospel According to Luke

Jesus of Nazareth

Jesus of Nazareth according to the writer Luke. Who was Jesus? Who was Luke?

REQUIRED READING

Please feel free to use any edition of the New Testament that you already possess.  But this edition, the New Jerusalem Bible, paperback edition of the New Testament is particularly useful and well designed. This paper edition is now out of print, but there are many used copies available from Amazon at very low prices. I will be using this edition in my lectures.

Luke,

The Gospel According to Luke, The New Testament New Jerusalem Bible,

Softcover edition, Doubleday,

ISBN 0385237065

RECOMMENDED READING

In our second week of study when we were reading Genesis, I recommended Richard Friedman's book Who Wrote the Bible? Now this week when we come to Christianity we need another book to give us some background on both the Old and New Testaments. And I have just the book for you: Jeffery Sheler, Is the Bible True?(ISBN 0-06-067542-X, paperback,$15.00). Sheler is the religion writer for US News. Over the years he has covered all the latest debates in the world of Biblical criticism, and two years ago he wrote this wonderful summary of all he has learned over the last years. It is a total pleasure to read. It is clear and well organized and provides the best survey available in the complex world of New Testament criticism (He also provides a good summary of the issues raised in Friedman's book.)

Jeffery Sheler,

Is the Bible True?,

Harper San Francisco,

ISBN 006067542X

MORE RECOMMENDED READING: HISTORICAL FICTION

Here are two wonderful novels that tell about the world of early Christianity; both deal with Luke. The Taylor Caldwell novel, Dear and Glorious Physician, is the best possible way to come to know the whole world of Luke and Paul, other than reading Luke and Acts.  You will love these books if you are a fan of historical fiction.

Thomas Costain,

The Silver Chalice,

Loyola Classics; First edition (April 1, 2006),

ISBN 0829423508

Taylor Caldwell,

Dear and Glorious Physician, A Novel about Saint Luke,

Ignatius Press (October 30, 2008),

ISBN 1586172301

10

Week 10: Monday, December 16, 2019
Christianity and Paul

Paul of Tarsus

Christianity in the first century

The spread of Christianity and the work of Paul

Paul and Peter in Rome

 

REQUIRED READING

The Acts of the Apostles in The New Jerusalem Bible

Please see also the outline of the Acts of the Apostles.

RECOMMENDED READING

We are very fortunate to have a fine biography of Paul recently published by Oxford University Press.  It is very good: succinct and helpful with maps that are just what we want.

Jerome Murphy-O'Connor,

Paul, His Story,

Oxford University Press, 2005,

ISBN 0199266530

Christmas Vacation: December 18 to Monday January 6

Classes will not be held during the weeks of Dec 23 and Dec 30.

Winter Quarter begins Monday, January 6, 2020.

All

Week 1: Mon., Oct. 7, 2019
The Western Tradition

What is civilization?
What is the Western Tradition?
What is Western Civilization?
And why doesn't our educational system want to teach it any more?
What is the state of the Western Tradition today?
What is the state of the teaching of the Western Tradition?
European critics of the Western Tradition:
Claude Levi-Strauss (1908–2009 )
Michel Foucault (1926–1984)
Paul De Man (1919–1983)
Jacques Derrida (1930–2004)
Edward Said (1935–2003)
Triumph of the European critics in American universities in the 1970's

One Definition of Civilization:
Winston Churchill was one of the greatest heroes of Western civilization. On July 2, 1938, at the height of the Sudetenland crisis, he delivered the Chancellor’s Address at the University of Bristol. In a short but powerful speech Churchill, a master of the English language, gave as eloquent a statement of the Anglo-American tradition of liberty and civilization as has ever been uttered.
"There are few words which are used more loosely than the word 'Civilization.' What does it mean? It means a society based upon the opinion of civilians. It means that violence, the rule of warriors and despotic chiefs, the conditions of camps and warfare, of riot and tyranny, give place to parliaments where laws are made, and independent courts of justice in which over long periods those laws are maintained. That is Civilization—and in its soil grow continually freedom, comfort and culture. When Civilization reigns, in any country, a wider and less harassed life is afforded to the masses of the people. The traditions of the past are cherished, and the inheritance bequeathed to us by former wise or valiant men becomes a rich estate to be enjoyed and used by all. The central principle of Civilization is the subordination of the ruling authority to the settled customs of the people and to their will as expressed through the Constitution. In this Island we have today achieved in a high degree the blessings of Civilization. There is freedom: there is law; there is love of country; there is a great measure of good will between classes: there is a widening prosperity. There are unmeasured opportunities of correcting abuses and making further progress."
Source: Winston S. Churchill, Blood, Sweat, and Tears, Randolph S. Churchill, ed. (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1941), pp. 45–46

RECOMMENDED READING: David Denby, Great Books

This is a wonderful book. David Denby went back to Columbia where he had been an undergraduate many years before, and did the Humanities course sequence again and wrote this fascinating record of his experiences with the students and their reactions to the great books. It will serve you all as a delightful parallel experience to our own class. As you read and discuss the books in our class you can read about the undergraduates at Columbia and their reactions to the same books. But let me suggest the following: wait until AFTER we have read and discussed a book before reading the section in Denby on the same material. Otherwise your reaction will be constantly predetermined by the Denby reaction and the ideas he presents.

David Denby,

Great Books,

Touchstone Books,

ISBN 0684835339

Be sure to see our collection of links in the right sidebar; this week, in particular, please see the ancient world chronology.

Week 2: Mon., Oct. 14, 2019
Israel

Israel: the land,

the people,

the history

The Old Testament

 Genesis: Adam, Abraham, Isaac

Moses, Ten Commandments

RECOMMENDED READING

Our text this week is the first book of the Hebrew Bible. The scholarship on the Bible is massive and difficult for the ordinary student. But some understanding of how the Bible was formed is absolutely essential and therefore I am happy to recommend to you all a wonderful book. It is called Who Wrote the Bible? and it is written by Professor Richard Elliott Friedman, of the University of California at San Diego (HarperCollins paperback, ISBN 0060630353). Prof. Friedman has written an important book about an important subject that is a pleasure to read: it is elegant and informative. It will change the way you think about the Hebrew Bible.

Richard Elliot Friedman,

Who Wrote the Bible,

Harper Collins,

ISBN 0060630353

Review:

The contemporary classic the New York Times Book Review called “a thought-provoking [and] perceptive guide,” Who Wrote the Bible? by Richard E. Friedman is a fascinating, intellectual, yet highly readable analysis and investigation into the authorship of the Old Testament. The author of Commentary on the Torah, Friedman delves deeply into the history of the Bible in a scholarly work that is as exciting and surprising as a good detective novel. Who Wrote the Bible? is enlightening, riveting, an important contribution to religious literature, and as the Los Angeles Times aptly observed in its rave review, “There is no other book like this one.”

This is the best book in English about the origins and writing of the Hebrew Bible, the Old Testament.

It is a brilliant exciting book. You will never forget it.

Week 3: Mon., Oct. 21, 2019
Homer and The Iliad

Ancient Greece and the origins of the Western Tradition.

Greece: the land, the light, the people.

The Indo-European invaders.

The Bronze Age Charioteers.

Homer and Troy

REQUIRED READING

Homer, Iliad, Book I

Partial copy will be provided to you.

Homer,

The Iliad,

translated by Robert Fagles,

Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition,

ISBN 0140275363

Amazon:

This groundbreaking English version by Robert Fagles is the most important recent translation of Homer's great epic poem. The verse translation has been hailed by scholars as the new standard, providing an Iliad that delights modern sensibility and aesthetic without sacrificing the grandeur and particular genius of Homer's own style and language. The Iliad is one of the two great epics of Homer, and is typically described as one of the greatest war stories of all time, but to say the Iliad is a war story does not begin to describe the emotional sweep of its action and characters: Achilles, Helen, Hector, and other heroes of Greek myth and history in the tenth and final year of the Greek siege of Troy.

RECOMMENDED READING

This is the best new introduction to the world of the ancient Greeks. Edith Hall takes you back to the beginning and then covers the whole Greek story through Alexander the Great. She is both a brilliant writer and an engaging lecturer. If you would like to see her lectures go to Youtube and look her up.

Edith Hall,

Introducing the Ancient Greeks: From Bronze Age Seafarers to Navigators of the Western Mind,

W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (June 16, 2014),

ISBN 0393239985

Reviews

About the Author

Week 4: Mon., Oct. 28, 2019
Sophocles

Athens and the Golden Age

Athens: 450 BC

Pericles and his good friend, Sophocles

The miracle of Athens: democracy.

REQUIRED READING

We are reading Oedipus the King in the collection (Oedipus Rex).

Sophocles,

Three Theban Plays,

translated by Robert Fagels,

Penguin Classics,

ISBN 0140444254

Week 5: Mon., Nov. 4, 2019
Greece and Alexander

Alexander the Great (356 BC - 323 BC)

King Philip and Macedon

Alexander and Aristotle

A worldwide empire

REQUIRED READING

No required reading

RECOMMENDED READING

Mary Renault,

The Nature of Alexander,

Pantheon Books,

ISBN 039473825X

Peter Green,

Alexander of Macedon,

Penguin Books,

ISBN 0520071654

These two excellent books about Alexander are both in print. The Renault book reads as an essay about Alexander and the literature about him. The Green book is considered the masterpiece of the world's leading expert on Alexander. Renault's book reflects her adoration of Alexander; Green's book is cooler and more academic. Both are excellent and well worth reading.

MORE RECOMMENDED READING: historical fiction

The best introduction to ancient Greece that I know is the historical fiction of Mary Renault:

Mary Renault (4 September 1905–13 December 1983), born Eileen Mary Challans, was an English writer best known for her historical novels set in ancient Greece. In addition to vivid fictional portrayals of Theseus, Socrates, Plato, and Alexander the Great, she wrote a non-fiction biography of Alexander. It is the best short book about him. (The Nature of Alexander)

Historical novels:

The Last of the Wine (1956)—set in Athens during the Peloponnesian War; the narrator is a student of Socrates.

The King Must Die (1958)—the mythical Theseus, up to his father's death

The Bull from the Sea (1962)—the remainder of Theseus' life

The Mask of Apollo (1966)—an actor at the time of Plato and Dionysius the Younger (brief appearance by Alexander near the end of the book)

Fire from Heaven (1969)—Alexander the Great from the age of four up to his father's death

The Persian Boy (1972)—from Bagoas's perspective; Alexander the Great after the conquest of Persia

The Praise Singer (1978)—the poet Simonides of Ceos

Funeral Games (1981)—Alexander's successors

Week 6: Mon., Nov. 11, 2019
Greek Philosophy

Above you see Plato and Aristotle as depicted in Raphael's great fresco in

the Vatican called "The School of Athens," and you see the older Plato in red

on the left with his student Aristotle in blue on our right.

These two men create the philosophical structure of Western thought.

 

Greek philosophy and science

Why was Greece unique?

Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Euclid, Ptolemy

The power of abstraction

 

REQUIRED READING

Aristotle, The Categories (Xerox provided)

Euclid, The Elements (Xerox provided)

Ptolemy, The Geography (Xerox provided)

Week 7: Mon., Nov. 18, 2019
Rome and Julius Caesar

ROME

 

 

Above you see one of the many sculpted heads of Julius Caesar that have survived from the first century BC. Next to him, you see the best modern version of Caesar, Marlon Brando. Julius Caesar was born in 100 BC; he died on March 15, 44 BC. Caesar may be the most controversial figure in all of European history. For two thousand years, his life and death have marked the end of the Roman Republic and the onset of the Roman Empire. The fate of the Republic has been the most important issue of debate in various periods of European history, as well as in our own US history. In every instance of political crisis, when Western democracies debate the true nature of their political health, the conversation has gone back to Julius Caesar: Was he a tyrant or was he a failed savior of the Roman Republic? For example, in 1215 when they signed the Magna Carta, during the crises of the Tudor century, and also in the Stuart era, men looked to Caesar. In 60 BC, and in 50 BC, that question was the core of the debate among Romans. And then, in 44 BC, the debate was ended with a sword. For our study of the Republic, we must evaluate Julius Caesar, his life, and his career; and we must also try to decide what happened. Was he the final destructive, last chapter of the 500-year old Roman Republic? His life and his dialog with Cicero are the most important sources of information on the issue.

REQUIRED READING

Julius Caesar,

The Conquest of Gaul,

Penguin,

ISBN 0140444335

RECOMMENDED READING

Goldsworthy presents a wonderful exploration of Caesar's life, including his military and political conquests, revealing his personality in a sympathetic telling. Many, many books have been written about Caesar and his time. This one is very accessible and worthwhile, and, I think, the best.

Adrian Goldsworthy,

Caesar: Life of a Colossus,

Yale University Press,

ISBN 0300126891

NEXT WEEK: Thanksgiving Week November 25–29

Classes will not be held the week of November 25 to 29, Thanksgiving vacation.

Students have stated they prefer having the week off; many are traveling for the holidays.

Week 8: Mon., Dec. 2, 2019
Rome and Cicero

Rome, Cicero, and the Republic

Cicero and Julius Caesar

Lifelong friends, lifelong enemies.

Cicero and Octavian

Cicero's last days: martyr for freedom.

REQUIRED READING

Cicero,

Selected Works,

translated by Michael Grant,

Penguin Classics,

ISBN 0140440992

In this collection of Cicero's works read the following:

  1. The excellent introduction by Michael Grant
  2. Part One (Section 2) "Selection from His Correspondence"
  3. Part One (Section 3) "The Second Philippic"
RECOMMENDED READING

We are very lucky to have a paperback edition of the wonderful new biography of Cicero available to us for our class this Fall. The Everitt biography is the first new biography of Cicero in many years and it is the best I have ever read. It is a total pleasure and if you find Cicero to be as interesting as I do then you will want to own the Everitt book.

Anthony Everitt,

Cicero: the Life and Times of Rome's Greatest Politician,

New York: Random House (2002),

ISBN 037575895X

Week 9: Mon., Dec. 9, 2019
Gospel According to Luke

Jesus of Nazareth

Jesus of Nazareth according to the writer Luke. Who was Jesus? Who was Luke?

REQUIRED READING

Please feel free to use any edition of the New Testament that you already possess.  But this edition, the New Jerusalem Bible, paperback edition of the New Testament is particularly useful and well designed. This paper edition is now out of print, but there are many used copies available from Amazon at very low prices. I will be using this edition in my lectures.

Luke,

The Gospel According to Luke, The New Testament New Jerusalem Bible,

Softcover edition, Doubleday,

ISBN 0385237065

RECOMMENDED READING

In our second week of study when we were reading Genesis, I recommended Richard Friedman's book Who Wrote the Bible? Now this week when we come to Christianity we need another book to give us some background on both the Old and New Testaments. And I have just the book for you: Jeffery Sheler, Is the Bible True?(ISBN 0-06-067542-X, paperback,$15.00). Sheler is the religion writer for US News. Over the years he has covered all the latest debates in the world of Biblical criticism, and two years ago he wrote this wonderful summary of all he has learned over the last years. It is a total pleasure to read. It is clear and well organized and provides the best survey available in the complex world of New Testament criticism (He also provides a good summary of the issues raised in Friedman's book.)

Jeffery Sheler,

Is the Bible True?,

Harper San Francisco,

ISBN 006067542X

MORE RECOMMENDED READING: HISTORICAL FICTION

Here are two wonderful novels that tell about the world of early Christianity; both deal with Luke. The Taylor Caldwell novel, Dear and Glorious Physician, is the best possible way to come to know the whole world of Luke and Paul, other than reading Luke and Acts.  You will love these books if you are a fan of historical fiction.

Thomas Costain,

The Silver Chalice,

Loyola Classics; First edition (April 1, 2006),

ISBN 0829423508

Taylor Caldwell,

Dear and Glorious Physician, A Novel about Saint Luke,

Ignatius Press (October 30, 2008),

ISBN 1586172301

Week 10: Mon., Dec. 16, 2019
Christianity and Paul

Paul of Tarsus

Christianity in the first century

The spread of Christianity and the work of Paul

Paul and Peter in Rome

 

REQUIRED READING

The Acts of the Apostles in The New Jerusalem Bible

Please see also the outline of the Acts of the Apostles.

RECOMMENDED READING

We are very fortunate to have a fine biography of Paul recently published by Oxford University Press.  It is very good: succinct and helpful with maps that are just what we want.

Jerome Murphy-O'Connor,

Paul, His Story,

Oxford University Press, 2005,

ISBN 0199266530

Christmas Vacation: December 18 to Monday January 6

Classes will not be held during the weeks of Dec 23 and Dec 30.

Winter Quarter begins Monday, January 6, 2020.