Conquest of the Americas [TTC Video]
20 September 2016, 12:42
Course No 888 | .AVI, XviD, 720x544 | MP3, 112 kbps, 2 Ch | 24x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 5.62GB
Why was Christopher Columbus's voyage to the Americas in 1492 arguably the most important event in the history of the world? Professor Marshall C. Eakin of Vanderbilt University argues that it gave birth to the distinct identity of the Americas today by creating a collision between three distinct peoples and cultures: European, African, and Native American.
As the inheritors of this legacy, some 500 years hence, we forget how radically the discovery of the Americas transformed the view of the world on both sides of the Atlantic.
A People Unknown, A Land Unmentioned
When Columbus completed his "enterprise of the Indies" he found a people unlike any he had ever known and a land unmentioned in any of the great touchstones of Western knowledge.
Animated by the great dynamic forces of the day, Christianity and commercial capitalism, the European world reacted to Columbus's discovery with voyages of conquest—territorial, cultural, and spiritual.
For the native peoples of the Americas, the consequences were no less dramatic.
When Hernán Cortés arrived to conquer Mexico, the Aztecs feared he was a god, returned from exile to claim his ancient lands.
For all intents and purposes, he may well have been.
- Within half a century, Old World germs and diseases had reduced native populations by as much as 90 percent.
- The great empires of the Aztecs, Mayas, and Incas, which had developed over centuries, were undone in a matter of years.
- The religious orders of the Dominicans, Franciscans, and Jesuits undertook to convert the native peoples to Christianity.
- Finally, the engine of European capitalism, embodied in the great plantation estates and mining complexes in Mexico and Peru, transformed the day-to-day life of the native peoples.
Enormous and Tragic Consequences
This collision of cultures also had enormous consequences for the peoples of Africa. The transatlantic slave trade, the largest forced migration in human history, changed the lives of millions of Africans and initiated one of the most tragic chapters in the history of the Americas.
And yet, this course is no simple account of heroes and villains, or victors and victims. It is a dramatic, sweeping tale of the complex blending of three peoples into one.
Through Dr. Eakin's thoughtful and detailed lectures, you understand how these three peoples formed completely new societies and cultures that were neither European, African, nor Indian. Instead, they were uniquely American.
History from Above and Below
In telling this story, Professor Eakin combines two approaches to history:
- What has been called "history from above," or the study of heroic and elite figures that played a key role in shaping history
- "History from below," the story as told by the great majority of common people who experienced this history firsthand.
While Dr. Eakin readily identifies and shares his analysis and interpretation of events, he also generously showcases competing views, and you benefit enormously from the numerous works he cites for further study.
He delivers his evenhanded lectures with one eye on the latest academic research and the other on classic scholarship of the past and original sources.
Those sources include the famous Florentine Codex, a retelling of the Spanish conquest of Mexico by the people who experienced it. It was compiled by a Spanish priest in Nahuatl, the native language of the Aztec Indians.
The Old World and the New
Professor Eakin sets the table for this history of the Americas by examining these two worlds as they developed in isolation for thousands of years.
You discover the wondrous accomplishments of the three great Native American empires, the Aztecs, Incas, and Mayas. These sprawling empires mastered the domestication of crops and animals, as well as the control of water so necessary for a society to develop.
You learn how all three had complex religions, imperial ideologies, and impressive technological expertise:
- The Maya had intricate calendrical systems based on knowledge of mathematics and astronomy that rivaled the achievements of the Old World.
- The Incas administered, without a written language, an empire that stretched along most of the South American coast.
- The Aztecs, like the Incas, built an enormous empire, conquering all of central Mexico from coast to coast as they sought more and more humans for the sacrifices their complex religion required.
Breathtaking Architectural Achievements
When the conquistadors first encountered the breathtaking architectural achievements of these civilizations, they were awestruck. These were edifices that matched anything seen in the revered world of ancient Greece and Rome. Some questioned whether the "savages" of these lands were capable of producing such wonders.
Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, Europe was a politically fragmented backwater, and hardly poised to become the dominant force on the globe. How did Portugal, for example, a territory barely larger than Maine, eventually build a trading empire so dynamic it would eventually push out into the Atlantic and set the stage for Spain's historic expeditions of conquest?
Professor Eakin paints the complex political, cultural, and technological landscape of Spain and Portugal in their infancy.
You learn how they became the vanguard of the sleeping European giant that was soon to stride across the oceans and bridge two long-divided worlds.Making Sense of Columbus
One biographer said of Columbus that, "Like a squid, he oozes out a cloud of ink around every hard square fact of his life."
Professor Eakin separates the facts about Columbus from the myths, and hones in on the significance of his voyage and the frenzy of exploration it set off:
- You see how the ruthless conquest and subjugation of the Caribbean island peoples set a pattern that was played out across the Americas.
- You're introduced to the ruthless and strategically brilliant Cortés as he vanquishes an empire of millions with just a few hundred Spanish soldiers.
- You learn how Francisco Pizarro, inspired by Cortés, set out for Peru with the same dreams of gold and glory.
Eventually, all of Mexico and Central and South America would be defeated, and the European powers would begin to create new societies in these conquered lands.
A Voyage through Turbulent Times
The many topics covered by Professor Eakin as he moves through the turbulent times of the conquest also include:
- The growth of the transatlantic slave trade as the conquerors began running out of the labor they needed to exploit the new territories
- The spread of the plantation system as it became the lifeblood of the Portuguese colonial economy
- The building of Spain's "golden age" on the backs of the indigenous peoples whose grueling labor mined the rich silver deposits of Mexico and South America
- The "quest for souls" as Christian religious orders fanned out across the Americas
- How the native peoples of the Americas resisted complete assimilation by creating new and colorful religions from the simmering pot of Christianity and long-held native beliefs.
In the final lectures, Professor Eakin looks at the foundations of the different societies in the Americas and looks forward, for better or for worse, to what future may emerge from this common past.
The Apostle Paul [TTC Video]
20 September 2016, 12:35
Course No 657 | MP4, AVC, 800 kbps, 714x480 | AC3, 96 kbps, 2 Ch | 12x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 2.3GB
Coming to grips with Christianity means coming to grips with Paul. There is no figure aside from Jesus himself who is more important to the history of this world religion, and no figure from the age of the early church about whom we know more or of whom we have a more rounded view.
Historian Luke Timothy Johnson, the best-selling author of The Real Jesus, offers a fresh and historically grounded assessment of the life and letters of Christianity's "apostle to the Gentiles" in this 12-lecture series.
"One of the most fascinating, important, and controversial figures in the religious history of the West, Paul the Apostle continues to find champions and detractors, sometimes in surprising places," says Professor Johnson.
This course addresses many questions concerning Paul's embattled life and work:
- Is Paul the inventor of Christianity or part of a larger movement?
- Is he best understood from the Acts of the Apostles or from his letters?
- Why does he focus on moral character of the community?
- How do his supporters and detractors depict him?
You consider his letters to the Thessalonians, Corinthians, and Galatians. You explore his religious commitments as a member of the Pharisaic movement, his persecution of the Christian sect, the dramatic experience that changed him into an apostle, and his work as a missionary and church founder.
The Controversial Apostle
Controversy has always swirled around Paul. In fact, it began during his lifetime.
As a Pharisaic persecutor of Christianity who became one of its most vocal and active exponents, as a Jew who preached to Gentiles, and as a missionary and pastor who had to deal with a wide range of demanding situations across several decades and many miles, it is hardly surprising that Paul should attract a body of critics and defenders who are as numerous and intense as his stature is titanic.
The 13 letters associated with Paul, together with the large sections of the Acts of the Apostles that recount his missionary journeys, form the bulk of the New Testament. His writings—nearly all of which were set down and circulated before the Gospels were written—have been endlessly scoured as sources for Christian doctrine and morals.
A Passionate Poet of the Divine
Paul is an eloquent and passionate poet of the divine. His works are full of unforgettable passages, and his words have exercised an important influence on countless "ordinary" believers as well as theological giants such as Augustine and Luther.
Paul's personality has been endlessly analyzed. He is one of the great converters (or turncoats, depending on one's perspective) in history. Modern thinkers inclined to fault Christianity—Nietzsche, Freud, and George Bernard Shaw, to name three of the more famous—often save their most intense scrutiny for Paul, whose views on issues of morality, sex, and authority continue to be contentious.
The Heart and Mind of a Pastor
Yet amid all the controversy around Paul, we tend to ignore the things which most concerned him, namely, the stability and integrity of the tiny Christian communities to which he wrote his letters.
Professor Johnson aims to rectify this by focusing precisely on these letters to learn something about Paul in the context of early Christianity. After all, before Paul became a source for theology and a part of the canon of Scripture, he was a missionary and pastor. This leads to thought-provoking questions such as:
- What were the problems with which Paul and his readers had to deal?
- How did his letters sometimes create as many problems as they solved?
- What clues to reading Paul can we get from recent research on ancient rhetoric?
- In what sense is Paul a "radical," and in what sense does he mean his letters to have "conservative" implications?
- What relation do Paul's preaching and writings about the risen Christ have to the Jesus whose words and deeds we read of in the Gospels?
As you join Professor Johnson in reading Paul's letters as individual literary compositions devoted to solving the urgent pastoral problems of the Christian communities he was nurturing, you begin to hear Paul's voice speaking to real-life situations and genuine crises.
A Portrait Drawn from Life
Such reading yields a picture of Paul that is far more complex than any stereotype, whether positive or negative. It is a portrait drawn from life.
You find a Paul who struggles to establish the authority to teach even in a community that he has founded (1 Corinthians), then finds its allegiance slipping away just as he is engaged in the greatest act of his career (2 Corinthians). You discover a Paul who writes to relieve a community's mind (1 Thessalonians) only to find that he has inflamed its imagination (2 Thessalonians).
You appreciate a Paul who seeks to realize an egalitarian ideal, and succeeds on some fronts (Galatians), but has only ambiguous results (Philemon) and undoubtedly fails (1 Timothy) on others.
You see a Paul who sets out to raise money for a future trip and ends up creating a theological masterwork (Romans). And you see a Paul who finds himself imprisoned, "an apostle in chains," yet who uses his very confinement to expand his witness and set forth his vision of Christ's church as a sacrament of the world's best possibilities (Colossians, Ephesians).
Perhaps most provocatively, Professor Johnson parts company with much modern scholarship by arguing that Paul, though he may not have literally written any of his letters, should nonetheless be considered the true author of all.
"The only requirement for this course is the willingness to journey along with Paul as he thinks his way through the problems he faces," says Professor Johnson. "The payoff is learning why Paul has had such an enormous influence, and why he remains a vital force in the religious life of millions, a living voice whose summoning words sustain Christian communities to this day and subvert all tendencies to reduce Christianity to a form of religious routine."
NOTE: This is VHSRip. This course was never produced as a DVD and went out of print many years ago.
Great Figures of the New Testament [TTC Video]
20 September 2016, 12:27
Course No 6206 | AVI, XviD, 640x480 | MP3, 128 kbps, 2 Ch | 24x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 4.49GB
Improve your biblical literacy and re-encounter the New Testament as a great repository of literary genius. This is the promise of Professor Amy-Jill Levine's vivid portraits of the cast of characters in the New Testament. While most of the figures treated are real, historical people, at least two (the Prodigal Son and the Good Samaritan) are fictional protagonists in stories told by Jesus within Luke's Gospel.
Some figures are famous. Others, such as the Syro-Phoenician woman who must turn Jesus' own words back upon him to gain the healing of her daughter, are not so famous but deserve to be better remembered.
Christianity's Founding Generation
Our Great Figures include Jesus himself as well as:
- A bullheaded fisherman from Galilee
- A highly educated tentmaker from Tarsus
- Several politically unaware magi, martyrs, Roman army officers, bad rulers, and the prophets who run afoul of them
- One enigmatic betrayer
- A number of strong and interesting women (including the unnamed Samaritan, a Canaanite mother, Martha the homeowner and her sister Mary, and a repentant sinner who anoints Jesus).
Representing the models of Old Testament piety are the elderly couple Elizabeth and Zechariah. The story of their son, John the Baptist, moves us immediately into the dangerous world of the 1st century, where messianic fervor was on the rise and popular prophets knew their lives were in danger.
You encounter Jesus' friends, the contemplative Mary and the vocal Martha, as well as their brother Lazarus.
You join conversations with:
- Jesus' interlocutors: Nicodemus and the Samaritan woman
- The centurion with a paralyzed son
- The desperate Canaanite mother with a demon-possessed daughter.
You explore the stories of the Apostles Peter and Thomas, James and John, Mary Magdalene (who becomes known as the Apostle to the Apostles), and Judas Iscariot—from the times they spent with Jesus to their post-canonical fates.
From the early years of the church, you meet James, "the brother of the Lord," and Stephen, the first martyr.
You explore how much we really know about:
- The centurions who represent Rome's military presence
- Pontius Pilate, the Roman prefect who orders Jesus crucified
- The four generations of the Herodian royal family who appear in the pages of the New Testament.
As for Paul the Apostle, Professor Levine investigates both his presentation in Acts of the Apostles and what can be determined about him from his own letters.
How Jesus Was Perceived—Then and Later
Concerning Jesus, one lecture is devoted to how he might have been perceived by those who knew him personally.
Then Professor Levine concludes with the development of Christology: how the "anointed one" was understood as a participant in the work of creation, as a new Adam, a perfect sacrifice, a suffering servant, the second part of the Trinity, and even a lactating mother.
Unlike primarily historical introductions to the Bible, including The Teaching Company's The Old Testament and The New Testament, these lectures frequently raise issues of religious interest.
The point of this exploration is not to inculcate any theology, let alone any particular religious world-view. Rather, it seeks to read the ancient texts anew to discover what they really say and how they were interpreted by both the secular culture and the faithful church.
How Well Do You Really Know the Bible?
You may think you already know all the great stories of the Bible. But often they are misted over by centuries of common misperceptions frequently repeated.
To take the most well-known example, it is common today to regard the snake in the Garden of Eden as Satan and to see the disobedience of Adam and Eve as resulting in Original Sin. Yet the Genesis story mentions neither Satan nor sin.
Now, by taking a fresh look through the eyes of Professor Levine, you rediscover the Great Figures of the New Testament. You learn anew from the fascinating cast of characters in the greatest story ever told.
Writes Harold McFarland, Regional Editor at Midwest Book Review:
"In Great Figures of the New Testament Professor Amy-Jill Levine of the Vanderbilt University Divinity School does an excellent job of bringing several individuals to life. Not only does she discuss well-known individuals such as Pontius Pilate, James, and Philip but also important groups and individuals who are not specified by name such as the Centurions, the woman at the well, the shepherds, and others. Professor Levine deftly discusses details of the person from the perspectives of the Biblical stories, culture, literary criticism, how the church has viewed the person through history, and how artists and worshippers have viewed them. Probably one of the most fascinating aspects of the course is how she brings their personalities to life based on how they spoke, acted, or reacted within the confines of their culture.
"Professor Levine includes some analysis of literary types such as noting the parallel between Jesus' father Joseph going to Egypt and Joseph, Jacob's son going to Egypt. This opens up even more interesting aspects in the lives of the figures.
"Some of the many figures discussed include Elizabeth and Zechariah, John the Baptist, Joseph, Mary and Martha, Lazarus, the Samaritan woman, Pharisees and Sadducees, Thomas, James, John, Judas Iscariot, Stephen, Philip, Paul, and Jesus.
"This is a great piece of work and sure to enlighten anyone wishing to gain a more thorough understanding of these great figures. As usual with The Teaching Company products, this is a very highly recommended purchase."