History of England from the Tudors to the Stuarts [TTC Video]
07 November 2016, 14:31
Course No 8470 | AVI, AVC, 640x480 | MP3, 128 kbps, 2 Ch | + PDF Guidebook | 48x30 mins | 8.25GB
During the 229-year period from 1485 to 1714, England transformed itself from a minor feudal state into what has been called "the first modern society," and emerged as the wealthiest and most powerful nation in the world. Those years hold a huge story. The English people survived repeated epidemics and famines, one failed invasion and two successful ones, two civil wars, a series of violent religious reformations and counter-reformations, and confrontations with two of the most powerful monarchs on Earth, Louis XIV of France and Philip II of Spain.
But they did much more than survive. They produced a marvelous culture that gave the world the philosophy of John Locke, the plays of Shakespeare, the wit of Swift, the poetry of Milton, the buildings of Christopher Wren, the science of Isaac Newton, and the verse of the King James Bible.
And despite the cruelty, bloodshed, and religious suppression they visited on so many, they also left behind something else: the political principles and ideals for which we—and so many of them—would work and die, and on which we Americans would build our nation.
"A Terrific Story"
Professor Robert Bucholz presents a sweeping, 48-lecture course on one of the most intriguing times in modern history. England's changing social, economic, religious, and political structures unfold while first the Tudors (1485–1603) and then the Stuarts (1603–1714) establish their monarchies, and you hear the facts behind dramatic stories:
- Henry VIII's wives and his fear that a woman would rule
- The reigns of Henry's three children: Edward VI, "Bloody Mary," and popular Elizabeth I
- James I's insistence that the monarchy be stronger than Parliament
- Charles I in his best attire, walking to his own beheading
- James II believing Britain couldn't live without him
- William III, invited by the British to invade their country
- Queen Anne's War and her immense popularity
- The great, tumultuous city of London
- Continuing religious persecution and change, including the Reformation and the relationships between the royalty and the pope
- Change through the onset of the printed word
- Problems of law and order, witchcraft, the Poor Law, and the rise of Puritanism
- The blossoming of Elizabethan and Jacobean culture in art, music, and literature.
You learn about great works of art, important discoveries, castles, and coronations. And with the rich history of England's monarchs you also learn how the English people were born, worked, played, worshipped, fell in love, and died.
You also discover answers to intriguing questions such as:
- Why have all Britain's glory days been under women monarchs?
- Why did experimenting with a Republic lead to the monarchy's return?
- Why was Thomas More executed?
- Why do rebellion and war continue in Ireland and Scotland?
- What has been England's ongoing relationship with Wales?
Professor Bucholz presents this history in an intimate way that draws you into unfolding events, weaving quotes from parish records, diaries, letters, newspapers, and the political press into his own narrative.
"This is," he says simply, "a terrific story."
AudioFile magazine comments: "Professor Bucholz intertwines descriptions of court intrigue with portrayals of its effects on those governed, from the merchant to the tenant farmer to the beggar. Bucholz's lecturing style engages his students in the realities of the time with empathy, data, and humor. … The listener will find no dry history here, but a colorful album of real peoples' memories."
Professor Bucholz—whose work has been solicited and commented upon by His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales—is a noted expert on the English court and royal household, and a frequent media commentator on British history and the Royal Family.
Two Strong Queens and an Execution
This is a course filled with drama.
With Professor Bucholz, you find yourself in the hallway outside the bedchamber of Queen Anne on the night of July 27, 1714, next to the loyal servants who clearly hear the sounds of their beloved monarch weeping.
That day, the queen had been left with no choice but to demand the resignation of her Lord Treasurer, Robert Harley, Earl of Oxford, the greatest politician of his era and the last of the original ministers she had chosen when assuming the throne.
It is a frankly stunning moment and a vivid portrait of Queen Anne. This plain and sickly woman lacked the star quality of Elizabeth. Little had been expected of her when she took the throne 12 years earlier; yet she nevertheless forged the most successful reign of any Stuart monarch, becoming a strong and effective queen with an instinctive love for and understanding of her people.
Professor Bucholz explains that the two most successful reigns of this period were those of women, Queen Anne on the Stuart side, and, on the Tudor side, Elizabeth—the "Virgin Queen." Moreover, they did this in the face of a century of belief in the Great Chain of Being, the immutable hierarchy in which every person at birth had a clearly defined and accepted rank, To challenge it in any form was a grave sin.
Professor Bucholz takes you to the floor of Parliament during the contentious debate over the fate of Charles I, with Oliver Cromwell thundering, "I tell you, I will cut off his head with the crown on it!"; then to the king's final meeting with his youngest sons where he asks them to preserve the monarchy; and, finally, to the execution itself, the march to the block taking Charles directly underneath a painting of James I on the ceiling of Whitehall Palace—his own father portrayed as a deified monarch.
This was far more than great theater. For England had, for the first time, "judicially and publicly murdered" its monarch, literally "lopping off [Earth's] highest link in the Great Chain of Being" and created, for the only time in its history, a Republic.
Repercussions across the Ocean
It was during this time England became a world power and, in the process, established its American colonies. That culture of early-modern England is our root culture, and many of our institutions, laws, customs, and traditions can be traced back to that time and place.
In particular, the civil wars, revolutions, and parliamentary and legal battles described in this course led to the establishment of a constitutional monarchy, rule of law, the rights to trial by jury and habeas corpus, the first modern political parties, and a kind of popular participation in politics that would lead, ultimately, to democracies on both sides of the Atlantic.
"For these reasons," states Professor Bucholz, "this is not only an interesting course in its own right, it is also one with direct relevance for 21st-century Americans."
Mystical Tradition: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam [TTC Video]
07 November 2016, 13:59
Course No 6130 | MP4, MKV, 960x720 | AAC, 64 kbps, 2 Ch | 36x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 6.81GB
Mystical experiences and practices-including dramatic visions, direct communication with the divine, intense spiritual quests, and hermetic lifestyles-are commonly associated with Eastern cultures. They are thought to be far removed from the monotheistic traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
But consider the following:
- Many of the most important figures in the Jewish Bible had experiences that can be interpreted as mystical, including Moses's conversation with God as the burning bush and Ezekiel's vision of the heavenly throne-chariot.
- Jesus Christ, as a figure believed to be the incarnation of God, can be seen as representing the ultimate goal of mystical thought, the unification of human with divine.
- The Islamic prophet Muhammad is believed to have experienced the call of God directly through the angel Gabriel, and throughout his life he reported incidents of mystical encounters, including the divine revelation of the Qur'an, the sacred text of Islam.
In these examples, we encounter a surprising truth: that each of the great three Abrahamic religious traditions-those religions that trace their origins back to the patriarch Abraham-holds the seeds for deep mystical contemplation. But what do most of us know about these mystics and the tradition they sustained?
In Mystical Tradition: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, you explore this spiritual, literary, and intellectual heritage in these great faiths as it unfolds over three millennia. In 36 enlightening, thought-provoking lectures, award-winning Professor Luke Timothy Johnson of Emory University offers nearly unprecedented access to these seldom studied traditions.
What Is Mysticism?
But what do we mean when we speak of Western mysticism? As Professor Johnson shows, there is no single or simple definition of mysticism. In some traditions, it is rooted in intellectual discipline. In others, it's based in devotion to prayer and fasting. In still others, it's defined by ecstatic experience-a glimpse of the divine given as a gift from above.
Just consider these diverse instances of mysticism:
- The writings of Jewish Kabbalah mystic Rabbi Abulafia, whose work includes practical directions for the achievement of religious ecstasy
- The practice of hesychasm, through which medieval Christians recited the "Jesus prayer" to invite divine revelation
- The theological texts of Jalal ad-Din Rumi, a Muslim scholar who explored the mystical implications of love through breathtaking poetry
Mystical Tradition introduces you to the many faces of mysticism, from renowned scholars to simple people striving for personal enlightenment, throughout the centuries. You also contemplate questions about the nature of mysticism itself: How are we to understand mysticism-as literally true, as poetically true, or as a delusion? What is the future of mysticism? As it becomes detached and popularized apart from its religious faiths, can mystical observances retain their original character?
The course also offers a thought-provoking perspective on the nature of human spirituality. As Professor Johnson demonstrates, mystical strains of thought have permeated and influenced these three great religions for centuries, despite opposition from-and, in some cases, persecution by-the mainstream religious community. As you come to see, this persistence in the face of persecution reflects something about human nature: the need to pursue ultimate knowledge and union with a transcendent power.
A Unique Opportunity
For most students, this is a unique opportunity. Many of the sources Professor Johnson draws on are unavailable to general readers. Some of them have only recently been translated into English. Professor Johnson's course offers a first-time glimpse into this tradition.
A noted religious scholar and former Benedictine monk, Professor Johnson offers an intriguing, enlightening look into these seldom studied traditions and illuminates the rich and complex relationship between mystical contemplation and the Western traditions of faith.
But perhaps most importantly, he invites you to join him as you ponder a new way to understand faith, religion, and the essence of humanity. Explore with Professor Johnson the intriguing and enriching insights that await you in Mystical Tradition: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
Prove It: The Art of Mathematical Argument [TTC Video]
05 November 2016, 20:34
Course No 1431 | M4V, AVC, 640x480 | AAC, 128 kbps, 2 Ch | 24x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 8.43GB
Mathematical proof is the gold standard of knowledge. Once a mathematical statement has been proved with a rigorous argument, it counts as true throughout the universe and for all time. Imagine, then, the thrill of being able to prove something in mathematics. The experience is the closest you can get to glimpsing the abstract order behind all things.
Only by doing a proof can you reach the deep insights that mathematics offers—that tell you why something is true, not merely that it is true. Such insights are invaluable for getting a grasp of the key concepts in every branch of mathematics, from algebra to number theory, from geometry to calculus and beyond.
And by advancing from one proof to a related one, you begin to see how mathematics is a magnificent, self-consistent system with unexpected links between different ideas. Moreover, this system forms the foundation of fields such as physics, engineering, and computer science.
But you don’t have to imagine the exhilaration of constructing a proof. You can do it. You can prove it! Consider these proofs that are not only profound and elegant, but easily within reach of anyone with a background in high-school mathematics:
- The square root of 2: Can the square root of 2 be expressed as a rational number—that is, as a fraction of two integers? The proof discovered by the ancient Greeks had dangerous consequences for one mathematician.
- Gauss’s formula: What is the sum of the first 100 positive integers? As a child, the great mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss discovered that the solution has a simple formula, which can be proved in several different ways.
- Geometric series: Is the repeating decimal 0.99999… less than 1? Or does it equal 1? The proof surprises many people and provides a launching point into the analysis of infinite geometric series in calculus.
- Countably infinite sets: An eye-opening proof shows that the set of all rational numbers is the same size as the set of all positive integers, even though there are infinitely many rational numbers between two consecutive integers.
Mathematicians marvel at the clarity that comes from completing a proof. It is as if a light has suddenly switched on in a dark room, bringing simplicity and understanding to what was formerly obscure and confusing. And since research mathematicians spend much of their time working on proofs, you can get a feel for what it’s like at their esoteric heights by putting pencil to paper and working out elementary proofs.
Prove It: The Art of Mathematical Argument initiates you into this thrilling discipline in 24 proof- and information-filled lectures suitable for everyone from high school students to the more math-savvy. The course is taught by award-winning Professor Bruce H. Edwards of the University of Florida. The author of many widely used textbooks, Professor Edwards has a knack for making mathematics as exciting to his audience as it obviously is to him.
In the course, Professor Edwards walks you through scores of proofs, from the simple to the subtle. The accompanying guidebook includes additional practice problems that help you gain confidence and mastery of a challenging, satisfying, and all-important mathematical skill.
Techniques and Tips
The modern concept of mathematical proof goes back 23 centuries to the Greek mathematician Euclid, who introduced the method of proving a conjecture by starting from axioms, or propositions regarded as self-evidently true. Once proved by logic, a conjecture is called a theorem. The beauty of Euclid’s system is that the same conjecture can often be proved in markedly different ways.
In Prove It: The Art of Mathematical Argument, Professor Edwards introduces you to the principles of logic to give you the tools to reason through a proof. Then he surveys a wide range of powerful proof techniques, including these:
- Direct proof: Start with a hypothesis, do some math, then arrive at the conclusion. This is the most straightforward approach to a proof and is based on the simple logical relation, “P implies Q.”
- Proof by contradiction: Assume that a mathematical proposition is false. If that leads to a contradiction, then it must be true. Using this technique, Euclid devised an elegant proof showing the true nature of the square root of 2.
- Induction: Logical induction is used to prove that a given statement is true for all positive integers. The first step is to prove a “base case.” This case establishes that the next case is true, and the next, and the next, ad infinitum.
- Visual proof: Sometimes geometric figures can be used to show that a mathematical conjecture must be true. One such “proof without words” is credited to James A. Garfield, who later became president of the United States.
A teacher with a knack for bringing abstract material down to earth, Professor Edwards has many practical tips to help sharpen your proof-writing skills. For example,
- First things first: Before you try to prove a conjecture, stop and ask yourself if it makes sense. Do you believe what is being proposed?
- Try some examples: Plug in numbers. You may see right away that the conjecture is true and that you’ll be able to prove it.
- Know where you’re going: Keep your goal in mind as you work on a proof. Use scratch paper to jot down ideas. Often, you’ll see the way to a proof.
- Don’t be daunted: When you’re studying a finished proof, remember that you don’t see the mathematician’s notes. The proof could be easier than it looks.
Tales of Proofs
Throughout the course, Professor Edwards tells stories behind famous proofs. For example, the Four Color theorem says that no more than four colors are needed to color the regions of a map so that no two adjacent areas have the same color. It’s simple to state, but attempts to prove the Four Color theorem were fruitless until 1976, when two mathematicians used a computer and a technique called enumeration of cases to solve the problem. You get a taste for what’s involved by working through several simpler proofs using this technique.
You also hear about celebrated paradoxes in which logic leads to baffling conclusions, such as Bertrand Russell’s paradox that shook the foundations of set theory. It involves a barber who cuts the hair of all the people who do not cut their own hair—in which case, who cuts the barber’s hair?
And often in Prove It: The Art of Mathematical Argument, you’ll come across unproven conjectures—deep problems that are so far unsolved, despite the efforts of generations of mathematicians. It just goes to show that there are unending adventures ahead in the thrilling quest to prove it!