Written Communications: Being Heard and Understood [TTC Video]

Written Communications: Being Heard and Understood [TTC Video]
Written Communications: Being Heard and Understood [TTC Video] by Allison Friederichs, PhD
Course No 2086 | MP4, AVC, 1900 kbps, 1280x720 | AAC, 96 kbps, 2 Ch | 6h 24m | 5.39GB

We’ve all encountered bad writing at some point in our lives. We’ve possibly even authored some ourselves. And it’s pretty clear when writing is bad. Whether you’re writing business letters, memos, emails, reports, announcements, or some other professional communication, the pragmatic communicator can be far more effective than the multiloquent one.

Because we are judged by our ability to communicate with direction, focus, and confidence—along with inspiration and empathy, no matter who you are and what your goal is—getting the right message across is absolutely essential to achieving your objectives.

In the 12 rewarding lectures of Written Communications: Being Heard and Understood, Professor Allison Friederichs, Associate Teaching Professor and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the University of Denver, University College, will share the secrets to sharpening your written, oral, and interpersonal communications skills. She will show you how impactful communication isn’t really about you: It’s about your reader. Once you understand your audience, she’ll show you how to target the message, make appropriate word choices, incorporate sound logic, and untangle complex syntax using a combination of examples and activities.

Words Matter

People use words all the time, every single day, mostly without giving them much thought at all. But when you are writing words, you lose the context of vocal intonation, facial expression, and delivery. Your reader has to infer your intent and meaning and can only do so by the words you use. This ability to choose the right language is important because words are the most basic building blocks of communication. With two lectures of this series devoted to language and words, Professor Friederichs will provide you with exercises and toolkits for picking the right words every time. Consider “The Four C’s,” a framework that suggests your chosen words should be:

  • Correct. It’s important to use the correct word. People don’t always do this. Malapropisms are an example. They occur when a person uses a word that sounds like the word they mean but isn’t quite correct. Yogi Berra was famous for this; for example, he once said, “Texas gets a lot of electrical votes.” (He meant electoral votes.)
  • Concrete. One of the best ways to choose the right word is to understand the difference between concrete and abstract word choices. Choosing a concrete word means picking one with less possible variance in the connotative meaning. For example, if a person says, “I just heard my dog bark,” it’s fairly obvious that he or she is referring to the sound a dog makes rather than the exterior of a tree.
  • Clear. This speaks to ensuring clarity. There are three things to keep in mind to help you write clearly: writing concisely, avoiding redundancy, and avoiding jargon.
  • Contextually appropriate. If you don’t consider choosing the right word for the particular context, the risks can be much greater than misunderstanding. The wrong choice can have a profound impact on your professional relationships. When you write, you should place yourself in the context in which your message will be read, not the context in which it is written.

Professor Friederichs will also provide a deep dive into the intrinsic relationship between language and culture, considering an age-old issue about the nature of language, including the descriptive/prescriptive debate, as well as the two levels of meaning every word has: denotation and connotation. You’ll discover how meaning is culturally constructed and how meanings of words can shift across times and cultures.

The Misunderstood World of Punctuation

Once you’ve equipped yourself with the tools and skills to pick the right words, you need to present them in a professional and competent manner. Grammar and punctuation are challenging but important facets of writing. Nothing undermines your message more than the incorrect usage of a word, but even if you use the word properly, incorrect grammar and punctuation can change the entire meaning.

Professor Friederichs dedicates three lectures to ensuring you get it right, starting with the most commonly misunderstood rules of punctuation, such as issues around commas, semicolons, quotation marks, and dashes, as applied to Edited Standard American English. You’ll master noun and proper noun grammar rules such as when to capitalize, how to recognize pronoun case—possessive, subjective, and objective—how to spot misplaced and dangling modifiers, and how to untangle the often-confusing use of apostrophes. From there, you’ll cover the more complex world of verb and adverb usage—looking at passive and active voices, tense, and mood.

You may have bad memories of diagramming sentences for hours on end in grade school or getting otherwise grade “A” papers back with lower marks due to punctuation and spelling mistakes. Professor Friederichs’s manner and delivery will help you overcome any bad feelings you’ve harbored about grammar. She makes each of these lessons a delight, bringing plenty of humor and enthusiasm to explain the context for some of the rules that feel particularly arbitrary. With plenty of examples that make it easy to remember these often-confusing grammar rules, you’ll gain helpful tips to ensure your writing is always effective.

Get Writing Right

The last half of this illuminating course spotlights how to improve your overall message by changing your writing lens to focus on your audience. Most people typically don’t take the time to consider their message when they sit down at a keyboard, but Professor Friederichs demonstrates why you must conduct an analysis about what you are about to write before you even hit the first key—and she shows you how.

Professor Friederichs adds another useful tool to your collection with the business-writing process called ACE, which stands for Analyze, Craft, and Edit. For each of these steps, Professor Friederichs provides a helpful checklist that you can refer to each time you sit down to write.

  • Analyze: Professor Friederichs provides the Analyze Checklist to help you to consider your purpose, your audience, what your purpose statement will look like, and the relevant facts that will be involved. It also provides you with an opportunity to develop an outline of ideas. The analysis stage will save you time by helping you craft strong documents from the start.
  • Craft: You’ll quickly see how the Craft Checklist is immensely useful as you work through writing your purpose statement, introduction, body, and conclusion. Professor Friederichs also outlines eight additional best practices that will help you craft a well-written draft.
  • Edit: Here is your chance to analyze your document with a reader-centric lens to ensure it says what you want it to say, in an organized, clear, and concise manner. While you are not proofreading your document at this point, the Editing Checklist helps you review organization, proper word choice, clarity and concision, punctuation, and grammar.

Along with activities to help you put this process into practice, you’ll soon learn how the ACE process can be an instrumental habit to implement every time you write a professional communication.

The concluding lectures take you through the final steps of the process. They also provide you with valuable techniques for overall writing practices, such as developing your professional writing voice, building or using a style guide, and building strong relationships through your writing. From how to write a subject line for an email to the best choices for a greeting and an ending, Professor Friederichs covers every step of executing successfully written communications with helpful advice, tips, and tools, all geared to help you become a better writer, in any situation.

Written Communications: Being Heard and Understood [TTC Video]

Unlocking the Hidden History of DNA [TTC Video]

Unlocking the Hidden History of DNA [TTC Video]
Unlocking the Hidden History of DNA [TTC Video] by Sam Kean
Course No 10020 | MP4, AVC, 1900 kbps, 1280x720 | AAC, 96 kbps, 2 Ch | 6h 12m | 5.41GB

Locked inside the DNA of every species that ever lived are endless stories—about origins, ancestors, fate, and much more. Until recently, these secrets were completely inaccessible. But with the help of new technologies, scientists are now reading the hidden history of DNA, making remarkable discoveries about our past.

DNA not only holds secrets about our ancestors and our development over time, but it also sheds light on the present workings of the trillions of cells inside our bodies. Plus, it provides clues to the future, both the possible traits of our progeny and also our likelihood of developing certain diseases.

Your gateway to this treasure trove of information is Unlocking the Hidden History of DNA, 12 informative and accessible lessons delivered by New York Times best-selling author Sam Kean, whose cogent explanations of scientific phenomena have been praised by everyone from NPR and The Boston Globe to Discover and Enterntainment Weekly.

Over the course of these lessons, you will learn astonishing truths about human genetics and development, such as:

  • Our Neanderthal Kin: Long thought to be extinct, Neanderthals live on inside many of us. A few percent of the DNA in Europeans, Asians, and other non-African groups is Neanderthal in origin, showing that at some point Neanderthals must have mated with modern humans.
  • The Reproductive Revolution: The placenta common to most mammals, including humans, shares features with the genetic material in retroviruses. This suggests that millions of years ago infected embryonic cells changed the way that early mammals produced their offspring.
  • The Origin of Clothing: By comparing the DNA of different species of lice, scientists have determined that human body lice, which live exclusively in clothing, evolved about 170,000 years ago, likely because humans had started covering their bodies with animal skins.

The Drama behind Great Discoveries

Assuming no prior background in science, these detailed but delightful lectures cover the fundamental properties of DNA, the techniques that have unraveled its mysteries, and the very human stories of the scientists who have pioneered the field, often winning Nobel Prizes and frequently sparking controversy.

It all started in the mid-19th century with a pair of discoveries that would not be united for almost a century. Austrian monk Gregor Mendel, working with pea plants, discovered that inheritance is governed by basic rules controlled by discrete units that came to be called genes. Meanwhile, Swiss biochemist Friedrich Miescher, studying the nuclei of cells, discovered a sticky substance later called deoxyribonucleic acid or DNA. Eventually, investigators suspected that genes were located on structures known as chromosomes that are visible in cell nuclei. Some speculated that genes might have something to do with Miescher's obscure molecule, after it was found in chromosomes and as the true size of DNA finally began to be understood.

From the mid-20th century, research moved at an accelerating pace, as you learn through a series of vignettes, including:

  • Biology with a Blender: With the goal of identifying the genetic material once and for all, Alfred Hershey and Martha Chase ran a startling experiment involving viruses, radioactive tracer elements, and a kitchen blender. Their 1952 results proved that DNA is beyond doubt the agent of heredity.
  • Deciphering DNA’s Structure: The most famous race in the history of science pitted prominent researchers such as Linus Pauling, Rosalind Franklin, and Maurice Wilkins against a novice team composed of James Watson and Francis Crick. The goal: identify the structure of DNA and the secret of its genetic function.
  • Mapping the Genome: After many breakthroughs, the big prize at the start of the 21st century was a complete record of the human genetic code, consisting of three billion base pairs. Two teams, led by Francis Collins and Craig Venter, competed aggressively and finished in a dead heat in the early 2000s.

Sam Kean tells these stories with lucid technical descriptions combined with a novelist’s flair for capturing human drama. For example, his account of CRISPR—the genetic engineering technique that is currently transforming biology and medicine—takes you from a salt marsh in Spain, to an innovative yogurt plant in Wisconsin, to cutting-edge research labs throughout the world, where disinterested scientific inquiry has turned into a high-stakes race for a commercial bonanza.

Lucky Mutations and Other Stories

DNA also shapes human culture, as you learn in Lecture 6, where Mr. Kean recounts the curious case featured in the title of his 2012 bestseller The Violinist’s Thumb. The thumb in question belonged to 19th-century violin virtuoso Niccolò Paganini, who could twist and contort his digits in extreme ways, allowing him to perform musical fingerings that were beyond the abilities of his peers. Paganini almost surely had a genetic abnormality that would have been a drawback for most human activities, but made him a wild success as a violinist.

In the same way, other genetic anomalies have proved advantageous when the time was ripe:

  • Digestion: The ability to break down lactose—milk sugar—mattered only to young children until humans became herders with ready access to animal milk products. At that point, a gene mutation that allowed adults to metabolize lactose spread widely through herding cultures because of the survival advantage it conferred.
  • Language: Scientists have discovered that a gene universal among mammals that produces a language deficit when mutated in humans. Humans normally have a slightly different version of the gene compared to chimpanzees, suggesting that it plays a key role in language.
  • Intelligence: Human intelligence is under control of a host of genes. For example, a slight shift in a DNA segment a few million years ago resulted in smaller jaw muscles in early humans. This led to thinner skulls, freeing up space for greater brain volume.

Unlocking the Hidden History of DNA also features insights into the secret past of historical figures, gleaned through DNA analysis. You solve longstanding mysteries about the Neolithic “Cheddar Man,” as well as King Tut, Genghis Khan, England’s King Richard III, and U.S. Presidents Thomas Jefferson and Warren Harding.

In these and so many other ways, the study of DNA has unlocked knowledge previously assumed to be unattainable and lost forever. And thanks insights into our own DNA, we also understand how it is that we are endowed with the brains and curiosity to keep the discoveries coming far into the future.

Unlocking the Hidden History of DNA [TTC Video]

World War II: The Pacific Theater [TTC Video]

World War II: The Pacific Theater [TTC Video]
World War II: The Pacific Theater [TTC Video] by Craig L Symonds, PhD
Course No 8756 | MP4, AVC, 1900 kbps, 1280x720 | AAC, 96 kbps, 2 Ch | 12h 24m | 10.66GB

The Japanese attack on the United States Battle Fleet stationed at Pearl Harbor, on December 7, 1941, struck most Americans like a bolt from the blue. While the attack was a tactical success for Japanese Admiral Yamamoto, it was also one of the most reckless strategic decisions in the history of warfare, for it awakened a sleeping giant—the US military—and triggered some of the most harrowing and ferocious military actions the world had ever seen.

For the United States, the war started and ended in the Pacific Theater, with the war against Japan. From 1941 to 1945, Japan and the United States waged the largest naval war in history—and in the end, it changed the course of history and re-made the modern world.

World War II: The Pacific Theater takes you inside the sweeping story of the American fight against the Japanese. Taught by Professor Craig L. Symonds, a distinguished military historian at the US Naval War College, and former chairman of the History Department at the US Naval Academy, these 24 vivid lectures chronicle the global trajectory of the war in the Pacific: the epic battles, the military strategy and tactics, the leaders and commanders, the amphibious landings, the air attacks, and the submarine campaigns.

Professor Symonds transports you to the rolling seas of the Pacific, into the jungles of Guadalcanal and the Philippines, and across the black sands of Iwo Jima. You’ll meet fascinating figures such as General Douglas MacArthur, Admiral William Halsey, Admiral Chester Nimitz, the codebreakers at Station Hypo, and countless others, including Marines, soldiers, sailors, and airmen.

Produced by The Great Courses in partnership with HISTORY, World War II: The Pacific Theater gives you an inside look at the strategy of the war on both sides and explores the tactical advantages each nation held, from industrial dynamism to advanced technology to sheer willpower.

Witness the Strategy of War in Action

Besides giving a comprehensive survey of the Pacific War, this course offers a deep dive into military strategy. For instance, though Japan’s primary goal in the 1930s was the conquest of China, Admiral Yamamoto insisted on attacking the American fleet in Pearl Harbor. Why?

Professor Symonds reveals Japan’s complex calculus: how the country needed a supply line of oil from the South Pacific to fuel a war in China, how the United States controlled the Philippines, and why it therefore seemed to make sense to attack the US base in Hawaii.

Yamamoto believed that preemptively taking out a significant portion of the American fleet would cripple the United States and allow Japan free reign of the ocean. Although the “day of infamy” was tactically successful, America maintained its handful of aircraft carriers, which six months later allowed the US Navy to alter the direction of the Pacific War with a furious 10-minute onslaught during the Battle of Midway.

World War II in the Pacific was the largest naval war in history, and throughout this course, Professor Symonds leads you through the evolving nature of naval warfare. Among other topics, Professor Symonds unpacks:

  • The crucial importance of aircraft carriers;
  • The division of command in the Pacific between General MacArthur and Admiral Nimitz;
  • The relationship among the Navy, the Marines, the Army, and the Air Force;
  • The grinding campaign in Guadalcanal and the island-hopping campaign in the Central Pacific;
  • The role of codebreakers stationed in Hawaii—and the limits of their intel; and
  • The particular roles of strategic air power and submarine warfare.

Delve into Battles from Pearl Harbor to Okinawa

The Pacific Theater includes some of the most famous (and occasionally infamous) names in modern warfare, inspiring legions of Hollywood films and haunting the halls of military colleges for generations. Strap on your packs and lace up your boots, and travel with Professor Symonds back to some of the most epic battles in history:

  • The Philippines. Reflect on General MacArthur’s missteps early in the war that culminated in the Bataan Death March and MacArthur’s escape to Australia. Then witness his triumphant return three years later.
  • Midway. Find out why the Japanese were so interested in a tiny American base in the middle of the ocean. This story of codebreaking, a surprise attack, and 10 minutes that changed the course of the war is truly breathtaking.
  • Guadalcanal. Delve into the thick jungle and bitter fighting for this critical island outpost in the Solomon Islands.
  • Tarawa. Find out why a little bad luck with the tides turned this battle into one of the most harrowing and costly assaults in the history of the US Marine Corps.
  • Iwo Jima. Look beyond the iconic photograph of Marines hoisting the American flag on Mount Suribachi and examine the tragic consequences of this important battle.
  • Okinawa. See how this bloody battle—known as Operation Iceberg—crushed any prospect for a Japanese victory and watch as kamikaze fighters nonetheless continued to hurl themselves at American ships.

A Dynamic Story

One of the most fascinating aspects of this course is how it reveals the way supply chains and industrial output affected the trajectory of the war. For example, Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor had more to do with supplies of oil and rubber from South Asia than with any interest in conquering American territory. As these lectures show, only a few years later, the lack of supplies wrecked Japan’s ability to wage war effectively.

Meanwhile, American manufacturing output was truly staggering: millions of tons of new shipping, from destroyers and tank landing ships to cargo ships and aircraft carriers. Thanks to American industry, the military was able to resupply the Navy and the Marines as they hopped from island to island, and battle to battle.

The story of the Pacific Theater is a dizzying sequence of raids and battles, invasions and onslaughts, all aided by the deadly tools of war. Professor Symonds clarifies the war and offers a remarkable military history of the conflict. World War II: The Pacific Theater is an absolute must for military buffs, history enthusiasts, and anyone wishing to deepen their knowledge of world history. Settle in for a thrilling ride.

World War II: The Pacific Theater [TTC Video]

How Science Shapes Science Fiction [TTC Video]

How Science Shapes Science Fiction [TTC Video]
How Science Shapes Science Fiction [TTC Video] by Charles L Adler, PhD
Course No 2358 | MP4, AVC, 1900 kbps, 1280x720 | AAC, 96 kbps, 2 Ch | 11h 47m | 10.0GB

Science fiction has been called “the literature of the future,” but how often do writers get the science right? Most of us are familiar with the common features of the genre: interstellar travel, laser weapons, alien technology, teleportation, artificial intelligence, time travel, and more. But how much do we know about the science behind the stories and their imaginative worlds? It’s true that these are, indeed, science fiction, but you may be surprised by how much scientific reality lies at the heart of well-known science fiction tropes.

Whether science fiction is exploring current realities, extrapolating from the present to create imaginary futures, or just creating interesting settings for character-driven stories, it often relies on real science to both entertain and build stories that can transport us into astonishing new worlds. In the 24 lectures of How Science Shapes Science Fiction, Professor Charles L. Adler of St. Mary’s College of Maryland looks at dozens of books, movies, and television shows to unearth the science behind the fiction. From the physics of space flight and the ecology of exoplanets to the creation of alien languages and the paradoxes of time travel, you will uncover the ways real-world science is applied by writers and filmmakers—and consider what they might alter or leave out for the sake of a good plot.

Over the course of these 24 lectures, you will engage with work from dozens of great names in science fiction, including:

  • Jules Verne;
  • Isaac Asimov;
  • Arthur C. Clarke;
  • Stanley Kubrick;
  • Frank Herbert;
  • Ursula K. Le Guin;
  • Becky Chambers; and
  • Robert Heinlein.

And you will have the perfect guide as you immerse yourself in the work by these and many other sci-fi storytellers. With over 30 years of experience in the field of physics, Professor Adler presents the many scientific facts and theories throughout this course with clarity and good humor, using science fiction as a lens through which we can better understand our own world and expand our understanding of vital scientific principles. While it isn’t necessary to read or watch the many stories explored in these lectures to understand the science, your experience will be greatly enhanced if you have encountered these tales before.

Reading Fiction Scientifically

If science fiction is about entertainment, why dig into the accuracy of the science? As Professor Adler demonstrates, fiction can be a wonderful gateway to education as well as entertainment. Through the dozens of novels, films, and television shows he discusses in this course, you will see how fiction can both directly and indirectly reflect the real-world concerns of scientists and everyday people alike. And, rather than taking stories to task for failures of accuracy, or only praising those with the most “truth,” Professor Adler enriches your experience of these stories. He provides an in-depth analysis of dimensions many could miss out on in a solitary experience with these narratives and helps you engage with science in a highly accessible way. As you dive into stories by great writers and filmmakers that span the history of science fiction, you will examine:

  • How science is applied in a variety of stories and storytelling mediums;
  • The ways writers can “cheat” science to bend it to the needs of their stories, rather than forcing fiction to fit reality;
  • The predictive powers of fiction rooted in real science;
  • The many scientific fields that sci-fi writers can use to build their story worlds;
  • When accuracy helps a story and when it bogs it down in excessive scientific detail; and
  • Real scientific principles and their applications to both fiction and reality, including the basics of rocket science, ecology, relativity, evolution, computer science, chaos theory, and much more.

By presenting scientific knowledge through the lens of fiction, How Science Shapes Science Fiction opens the door to theories, concepts, and formulas that may seem daunting in more academic settings. As you will see, fiction has an amazing capacity to teach us about ourselves and the nature of the world we live in.

Prediction in Fiction

Science fiction as a literary genre has been around since the early 19th century, and it has grown and expanded in tandem with our understanding of the world through scientific study. Experiments with electricity inspired Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein in 1817, the novel many consider the first science fiction story. From Shelley onward, writers saw the unlimited potential in using science to create stories of adventure and imagination. These stories often interrogate how the world would be changed by the discoveries made by physicists, biologists, chemists, ecologists, and many others over the course of the last two centuries. And one of the most eye-opening lessons in How Science Shapes Science Fiction is looking at how “soft” sciences like sociology, anthropology, linguistics, and psychology are just as important to the genre as the “hard” sciences.

Jules Verne’s classic From the Earth to the Moon is an early example of “hard” science fiction that accurately reflects the scientific knowledge of his time—knowledge that would be proven correct in many ways a century later. Professor Adler walks you through the conditions necessary to launch a rocket into space, highlighting Verne’s grasp of physics and the logistics that would make a rocket launch possible. While Verne’s story would likely still be fun without this acute attention to detail, the depth of his knowledge and focus on the realities of spaceflight makes it an exceptionally prescient story and, along with 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, cemented Verne as a leading figure in sci-fi literature.

Jules Verne may not have set out to predict the future in his stories, but other science fiction writers have made attempts to deliberately look ahead, sometimes with mixed results. Isaac Asimov was one of the titans of mid-20th-century science fiction. As you look at his Foundation series, you will examine the ways he used social sciences and the sociological conditions of his own time to create a hypothetical future for humanity after the collapse of civilization. Since these stories are set thousands of years in the future, the “accuracy” of his predictive storytelling is less about the future and more about understanding how social and historical factors shape human decision-making in the here and now. This also opens the door to conversations about the ways writers and sci-fi creators understand the many fields they utilize to create fictional worlds, drive plot, and motivate their characters.

Questions Big and Small

While some science fiction purposefully sets out to engage with readers intellectually, there is no denying that a lot of science fiction relies on fictionalized or unsubstantiated science for the sake of storytelling. Beloved series like Star Trek, Star Wars, Doctor Who, and a host of other works both classic and contemporary all utilize theoretical tools that are less about interrogating real science than they are about using technology and ideas to tell engaging, character-driven stories. But that doesn’t mean that their plot devices like teleporters, lightsabers, and time machines don’t present interesting scientific questions. Sometimes, as in the case of Carl Sagan’s novel Contact, fiction can even influence legitimate scientific research with real-world implications.

Compare fact and fiction as Professor Adler helps you better understand the science that could answer questions including:

  • Is it possible to replicate or move matter across long distances instantaneously?
  • What are the paradoxes of time travel, and is it even possible?
  • Could huge winged creatures like dragons really fly?
  • How would travel and communication across vast interstellar distances actually work?
  • Can the way we use language alter our experience of reality?
  • Will artificial intelligence develop beyond our ability to control it?

The great sci-fi author Stanislaw Lem once said, “Science explains the world, but only art can reconcile us to it.” There is a lot to be learned about science through science fiction, but ultimately, the aim of great literature is the same, no matter the genre. The questions and theories considered in How Science Shapes Science Fiction will give you the opportunity to experience science fiction on multiple levels, as both a fascinating inquiry into the scope of our scientific knowledge and as a bold human quest for meaning in a vast and complex universe.

How Science Shapes Science Fiction [TTC Video]

World War II: Battlefield Europe [TTC Video]

World War II: Battlefield Europe [TTC Video]
World War II: Battlefield Europe [TTC Video] by David R. Stone, PhD
Course No 8762 | MP4, AVC, 1900 kbps, 1280x720 | AAC, 96 kbps, 2 Ch | 24x28 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 9.58GB

In more ways that you can imagine, today’s geopolitical climate is a product of World War II. The United States, France, Germany, Russia, and Britain—all of these world powers and their sense of place in the 21st century were profoundly shaped by the most savage, sweeping war in human history.

The topic of World War II’s European Theater is so vast that it requires an expert historian to make sense of it all. How was the war in Europe fought over the course of seven long, arduous years? What led to Germany’s early sustained gains, and what eventually stymied its advances? Why did the war in Europe unfold the way it did, and what socio-economic factors led to Germany’s unconditional surrender after millions of lives were lost?

For award-winning Professor David R. Stone of the U.S. Naval War College, it all boils down to a matter of strategy. Strategic choices—political ones, economic ones, military ones—are the organizing principles that can help any of us make sense of the war in Europe. “Political and military leaders had to make hard decisions,” Professor Stone says. “We can learn a lot by looking at those choices.”

World War II: Battlefield Europe is Professor Stone’s expansive 24-lecture exploration of the 20th century’s defining conflict. Designed in partnership with HISTORY® and using a distinctly European perspective (in which the United States is a supporting player instead of a main character), this course provides a fresh lens through which to study the European Theater’s major battles, larger-than-life personalities, twists of fate, and tales of intrigue. You’ll uncover the strategic decisions behind U-boat assaults, urban bombing campaigns, Operation Barbarossa, D-Day, the Battle of the Bulge, the invasion of Italy, the French resistance, the fall of Berlin, V-2 rockets, and so much more. By the end of the last lecture, you’ll better understand why the war in Europe unfolded the way it did—and why its legacy resonates for all players down to this very day.

While World War II had two theaters of combat, the European Theater of 1939 to 1945 was the violent core of this global conflict between the forces of totalitarianism and those of freedom. It was on the European continent where Nazi Germany began its project of expansion and murder. It was on the European continent where Allied and Axis forces clashed at Stalingrad, el-Alamein, Anzio, and Normandy. And it was on the European continent where Nazi Germany was ultimately defeated and the stage was set for the Cold War that would consume the post-war world.

Strategic Looks at Epic Battles

In developing World War II: Battlefield Europe, Professor Stone came up with the conservative estimate that there are over 300,000 books and 30,000 scholarly articles dealing with World War II. It’s a conflict that’s so enormous, no one can master it all at once.

That’s why these lectures dig deep into the European Theater of war, and specifically the real-life military and political strategies behind some of the war’s most definitive battles.

  • The Battle of Britain: From the second half of 1940 through most of 1941, the British Royal Air Force and its German equivalent, the Luftwaffe, waged a desperate struggle for control of the skies over England. Dubbed the Battle of Britain by Winston Churchill, the fight raises a number of important strategic questions, including whether Germany’s shift from attacking the RAF to bombing British cities (which appealed to Hitler’s desire to make Britain suffer) might have cost the Nazis their chance at victory.
  • The Battle of Stalingrad: While Stalingrad (known today as the city of Volgograd) was one of World War II’s most decisive battles, the regional industrial center in the southeastern section of European Russia wasn’t important in itself. But the city sits where the Volga River takes a big swing westward as it flows south into the Caspian Sea, which meant the Germans couldn’t let the city remain in Soviet hands as it was too big a threat to the flank of their push to grab the oil fields around the Azerbaijani city of Baku.
  • The D-Day Invasion: Training for war is, naturally, serious business. It was even more so for the Allied invasion of Europe. Two months before the landing at Utah Beach, 750 American soldiers died at Slapton Sands in southwest England during a training exercise, which was attacked by the Germans. Because a number of the dead Americans had been briefed on the D-Day invasion plans, their bodies had to be recovered to ensure they hadn’t been captured and the plan wasn’t compromised.
  • The Battle of the Atlantic: What finally turned the tide in favor of Allied submarines and sea forces? Much of the eventual victory was due to technological developments, including better sonar and radar with which to find enemy subs; a forward-firing battery of depth charges known as “the hedgehog”; and a torpedo known as “Fido” (deliberately called a mine to be misleading to the enemy), which could track submerged submarines and, more important, could be dropped from Allied aircraft.

Provocative Questions, Illuminating Answers

A large part of military strategy isn’t just executing plans, but learning lessons from both victory and defeat. Professor Stone contextualizes the defining moments of World War II by illustrating what the various armies on the European continent took away from their clashes.

For example, after the Soviet victory at the Battle of Moscow in 1941, Hitler, who’d always had trouble taking the advice of military professionals, fired his army commander-in-chief and made himself the German army’s supreme commander. Stalin, on the other hand, came to the right conclusion: Civilian leaders should trust military professionals to make the decisions they’re not competent to make.

Throughout World War II: Battlefield Europe, you’ll get the opportunity to explore challenging and provocative questions about why the European Theater turned out the way it did. Using military and historical expertise, Professor Stone uncovers answers to these and other long-simmering issues.

  • How did European anti-Semitism evolve from a belief system rooted in religion to one rooted in race and biology?
  • What kept other European powers from re-engaging Germany and stopping Hitler long before he grew too powerful?
  • Why did Hitler break his non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union—and what made him think such a radical move would work?
  • Could the Allied forces have done anything to stop, or even just to slow down, the horrors of the Holocaust?
  • Why, with Berlin under siege and German defeat inevitable, did Hitler keep fighting—and why did his army let him do it?

A Definitive Learning Experience

World War II: Battlefield Europe puts you in the heat of battle alongside an award-winning military historian. In his role as Professor of Strategy and Policy at the U.S. Naval War College, Professor Stone is adept at helping laypeople understand the secret mechanics of warfare: how decisions are made, how forces move, and how battles are won (and lost).

In addition to Professor Stone’s brilliant scholarship, these lectures are powered by HISTORY’s extensive, high-quality coverage of World War II. Strategic maps, photographs, film footage, and illustrated recreations make this course a definitive learning experience unlike anything The Great Courses has ever before produced.

“Informed citizens need to understand their history,” says Professor Stone. With its profound effect on the world for decades following the conflict, World War II is a central part of that history.

World War II: Battlefield Europe [TTC Video]

A Historian Goes to the Movies: Ancient Rome [TTC Video]

A Historian Goes to the Movies: Ancient Rome [TTC Video]
A Historian Goes to the Movies: Ancient Rome [TTC Video] by Gregory S Aldrete, PhD
Course No 8635 | MP4, AVC, 1372 kbps, 960x540 | AAC, 128 kbps, 2 Ch | 12x32 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 4.15GB

When most of us think of the ancient Roman world, we don’t think about the scholarship of hard-working historians or the discoveries of patient archaeologists. We think, first and foremost, of what we’ve seen at the movies.

From the sword-and-sandal epics of the 1950s to the resurgence of grittier stories in the 21st century, cinema has exerted an undeniable power over our cultural understanding of ancient Rome. The iconography is always fresh in our minds: gladiatorial battles and chariot races, defiant slaves and nefarious emperors, magnificent public structures and white toga costumes. But just because these and other sights are popular in movies doesn’t mean they should always be taken as historical fact.

What would an award-winning historian think of films like Ben-Hur, Spartacus, Gladiator, or even a satire like Monty Python’s Life of Brian? How have these and other movies created our popular perceptions of ancient Roman history—and in what ways have they led us astray? And why, despite the occasional box-office flop, do movies set in ancient Rome still have the power to captivate us, and to turn each of us into theater-going history buffs?

In A Historian Goes to the Movies: Ancient Rome, Professor Gregory S. Aldrete uses his prolific scholarship to give you a front-row look at the great movies that have shaped ancient Rome’s role in popular culture and memory. Packed with insights into both history and filmmaking, these 12 lectures immerse you in the glory and grandeur (and, sometimes, the folly) of classic and contemporary films featuring over 50 years of cinematic talent, including directors like Stanley Kubrick, Federico Fellini, and Ridley Scott, and actors such as Charlton Heston, Rex Harrison, Elizabeth Taylor, Patrick Stewart, and Russell Crowe. You’ll investigate portrayals of ancient Roman life on the big screen and small screen; learn how to tease out fact from fiction in some of Hollywood’s most stunning spectacles; and deepen your appreciation for films that, when made right, are thrilling time machines into the past.

Survey Landmark Film and TV

For A Historian Goes to the Movies: Ancient Rome, Professor Aldrete has assembled 13 of what he and many other film buffs consider to be the most important films set in ancient Rome. These are movies we remember for their performances, their costumes and set designs, and the ways they influenced the movies made in their wake. A few of the features you will explore include:

  • Quo Vadis: This high-profile 1951 film, starring Peter Ustinov as the tyrannical emperor Nero and Deborah Kerr as a virtuous young Christian girl, established a successful (and lucrative) template for movies about classical antiquity and the early Christian world, and sparked a cultural fire for sword-and-sandal flicks.
  • I, Claudius: Based on two novels by Robert Graves, this BBC miniseries tracks the intimate lives of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, which includes the emperors Claudius, Caligula, and Tiberius. The show also captured the attention of a second group of viewers: those obsessed with England’s royal family.
  • Fellini Satyricon: Italian director Federico Fellini’s experimental film, based on the ancient novel Satyricon by Petronius, was very much a product of the cinematic and social revolutions of the 1960s—both of which left an indelible mark on this picaresque story of a pleasure-seeking young Roman man.
  • Gladiator: Essentially a remake of the 1964 film, The Fall of the Roman Empire, Ridley Scott’s blockbuster film from 2000 was a commercial and cultural triumph that snagged Academy Awards, spawned memorable catchphrases, and inspired a host of new sword-and-sandal epics in the subsequent decade, including Troy and 300.

Some films you may already be a fan of; other films you might have only heard of in passing. But all of them are essential to a well-rounded understanding of the intricate relationship between the world of ancient Rome and the world of the movies.

Walk the Line between Truth and Fiction

A scholar who’s spent his entire career immersed in the history of the ancient Roman world (from ancient body armor to everyday life), Professor Aldrete reveals the historical accuracies and inaccuracies of the ancient Roman world depicted in these films. When filmmakers seemingly got certain aspects of history wrong, Professor Aldrete provides a window into how and why the creators made certain decisions and navigated the tenuous line between truth and entertainment. For example, you’ll discover that:

  • Ben-Hur‘s naval battle, while a reasonable depiction of naval warfare in the ancient Roman world, nevertheless, depicts the oarsmen of the warships as slaves (they weren’t) and being sent to the galleys as punishment (it wasn’t);
  • Spartacus misrepresents the title character’s historical legacy by depicting his revolt as a growing movement challenging slavery, when in reality, it marked the end of popular opposition to the institution;
  • I, Claudius portrays the character of Livia as a mass murderer who kills multiple members of her own family to clear the way for her son, Tiberius—a notion that has been proven to likely be false, and can be traced to a specific ancient historian, Cassius Dio.
  • Gladiator uses the familiar “thumbs down” gesture to indicate a defeated gladiator should be killed, whereas, recent scholarship has revealed this gesture was most likely a way of calling for the victor to drop his weapon and spare his enemy;
  • HBO’s Rome gets many things right about everyday life in ancient Rome, including two characteristics of Roman religion—that it’s a component of nearly all facets of life and that individuals differ in their degrees of belief; and
  • Fellini Satyricon, despite its surreal components, depicts a marriage ceremony accurately by dressing the bride with an orange veil and having the guests throw nuts at the couple and shout “feliciter” in congratulations.

Go behind the Scenes of Cinematic Classics

Along with a revealing look at ancient history, these lectures also examine the art and craft of big-budget filmmaking. A Historian Goes to the Movies: Ancient Rome takes you behind the scenes to reveal how iconic films can be made—or unmade—by everything from clashes between directors and actors to out-of-control budgets.

For example, you’ll learn how:

  • Early epics like Ben-Hur couldn’t rely on the luxury of computer-generated effects and, therefore, had to construct impressive, full-sized replicas of ancient Roman sites like the Forum or the Circus Maximus;
  • Fall of the Roman Empire was the true box-office bomb that tanked the sword-and-sandals genre for decades (not Cleopatra, as popularly believed); and
  • Creative differences between a historical consultant and the producers of Gladiator reflect the way filmmakers ditch historical accuracy for the sake of drama.

Professor Aldrete also highlights profound connections between these films and the wider historical culture in which they first appeared. Quo Vadis, for example, made only a few years after the end of World War II, noticeably portrays the Romans as mirror images of the Nazis. And Spartacus, despite its message of freedom, became the target of McCarthy-era conservative and religious groups who condemned it for being anti-American.

A Guide for Tomorrow’s Great Films

Of course, the end of this exciting lecture series doesn’t mean there isn’t more to come. Roman history continues to inspire new cinematic depictions, and A Historian Goes to the Movies: Ancient Rome is a welcome guide to settings, themes, and “bread-and-circus” plots that popular culture just can’t let go of.

Professor Aldrete’s lectures leave you excited about how tomorrow’s movies will depict the ancient world—and eager to discover what those creative works will reveal about both the past and the times in which they’re made.

A Historian Goes to the Movies: Ancient Rome [TTC Video]

Liberty on Trial in America: Cases That Defined Freedom [TTC Video]

Liberty on Trial in America: Cases That Defined Freedom [TTC Video]
Liberty on Trial in America: Cases That Defined Freedom [TTC Video] by Douglas O Linder, JD
Course No. 8692 | MP4, AVC, 960x540 | AAC, 128 kbps, 2 Ch | 24x30m | + PDF Guidebook | 7.57GB

We like to believe that the founding principle of the United States is liberty. “Give me liberty, or give me death!” Patrick Henry famously said in 1775 to encourage the Virginia colonists to fight for their freedom. It was liberty for which he was willing to sacrifice his life. And it was to gain that liberty that the colonists eventually fought and won the Revolutionary War. So, you would think that when the United States of America was formed, our citizenry could finally enjoy a plethora of hard-won liberties.

But that was not the case. While the new Americans no longer suffered from taxation without representation, many of the liberties we enjoy today were not part of their lives. In Liberty on Trial in America: Cases That Defined Freedom, you will learn how liberty increased in our country when individuals sued for those freedoms, when cases were brought specifically to test the limits of the Constitution with its Amendments, and even when a jury in a local case returned an unexpected verdict that helped change the thinking of the times.

In 24 fascinating lectures, Professor Douglas O. Linder of the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law takes you behinds the scenes of the trials that brought us many of the freedoms we enjoy today. You’ll learn what happened when Anne Hutchinson dared to speak her religious ideas in the Massachusetts Bay Colony of the 1600s; when Susan B. Anthony decided to vote in a national election; when John Peter Zenger challenged colonial authorities in his newspaper; when labor activists promoted radical ideas in the 1880s in Chicago; when Jehovah’s Witnesses decided their children should not be forced to salute the American flag in school, and brought 22 other civil liberties cases to the courts, and more.

A Behind-the-Scenes Look

You’ll develop an in-depth understanding of the participants in more than 24 fascinating trials and learn what actions and thoughts led them to court, as well as hear from the prosecuting and defending attorneys in cases that addressed the freedom to:

  • Teach evolution. In 1925, John Scopes was a young science teacher who agreed to serve as a test case for the Tennessee Butler Act, the law that made it illegal to teach anything that denied the Biblical account of human origins. While Scopes was convicted of teaching evolution, the trial brought the issue into American homes. The Butler Act was repealed, but not until 1967.
  • Marry the person you love, no matter their skin color. When Richard Loving married Mildred Jeter in 1958, they were thrilled, but the commonwealth of Virginia was not; Richard was white, and the state identified Mildred as “colored,” which made it illegal for them to marry. They eventually took their case to the Supreme Court and won in 1967.
  • Defend your home and family, regardless of race. In 1925, African American doctor Ossie Sweet bought a home for his family in a white neighborhood of Detroit. When a white man was killed during a riot outside his house, police charged everyone in the Sweet home with premeditated murder. With Clarence Darrow as his lawyer, the Sweets won the same right to defend their property that their white neighbors already enjoyed.

Famous Figures

Many famous figures in American history play prominent roles in these trials, whether as plaintiff, defendant, or attorney. You’re familiar with their names, but in this course, you’ll learn their fascinating backstories, including:

  • John Brown, the abolitionist who armed slaves and encouraged an uprising in 1859 at Harper’s Ferry;
  • Susan B. Anthony, the women’s suffrage advocate who was arrested in 1872 for the act of voting;
  • Clarence Darrow, the attorney who, in the 1920s, defended the right of science teacher John Scopes to teach evolution in public school, and—with a seven-hour summation—defended the right of African American Henry Sweet to defend himself against a white mob;
  • William Jennings Bryan, three-time presidential candidate, U.S. Secretary of State, and the attorney who prosecuted John Scopes for teaching evolution in public school, but withered under examination by Clarence Darrow;
  • Norma McCorvey (“Roe”), the woman who filed suit against Dallas District Attorney Henry Wade in 1970, challenging a Texas law that prohibited her from having an abortion; and
  • Jack Kevorkian, the doctor who advocated for a patient’s right to die by physician-assisted suicide, participated in euthanasia, and was convicted of murder in 1999.

When Liberty Lost

U.S. history has not always moved in a straight line from less freedom to more freedom. In Liberty on Trial in America: Cases That Defined Freedom, you’ll learn not only about cases in which liberty claims were vindicated, but also those in which they were denied. Sometimes those cases that upheld the status quo seem most clearly unjust by today’s standards, and, occasionally, even by the standards of the times. Slavery, for example, sometimes received protection by judges who nonetheless found it despicable. It was the Civil War and the Fourteenth Amendment, not the courts, that finally granted liberties to enslaved persons. You’ll learn about cases that:

  • Did not allow a slave to testify that she killed her master in self-defense after he had repeatedly raped her over a period of years. At trial, evidence was presented that the fatal blow that particular night came only after Celia (no last name) was physically threatened, but the judge instructed the jury to ignore that evidence. Celia was convicted and executed.
  • Upheld the “separate but equal” doctrine, keeping Jim Crow laws on the books for decades. Homer Plessy was a Caucasian-looking man in Louisiana who took a seat in a train’s “white” section, announced he was 1/8 African American, and refused to move. The case eventually reached the Supreme Court, which upheld the constitutionality of racial segregation laws for public facilities.
  • Upheld the constitutionality of the Japanese American relocation camps on the basis of national security. Two months after Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt signed an executive order requiring all Japanese Americans to move into the camps. Fred Korematsu refused, was arrested, convicted, and took his case to the Supreme Court. The Court majority found that the executive order was justified by national security concerns.

No courts are infallible. As you’ll learn in Liberty on Trial in America: Cases That Defined Freedom, the Supreme Court has come back to revisit these and many other decisions. Sometimes new information is available, or the social framework of society has drastically changed, and sometimes the original decisions were just wrong. For example, in 2018, Chief Justice John Roberts took an opportunity to comment on Korematsu: “Korematsu was gravely wrong the day it was decided, has been overruled in the court of history, and—to be clear—has no place in law under the Constitution.”

As you learn about the intriguing cases presented in the 24 lectures of this course, you’ll understand and appreciate your own liberties in a new way. After all, every freedom we have has been won through someone’s passion and willingness to fight for what they believe is right. And just as liberty has been continuously redefined throughout American history—it will continue to be redefined in the future.

Liberty on Trial in America: Cases That Defined Freedom [TTC Video]

The Complete Painter: Lessons from the Masters [TTC Video]

The Complete Painter: Lessons from the Masters [TTC Video]
The Complete Painter: Lessons from the Masters [TTC Video] by David Brody, Professor of Painting and Drawing
Course No 7788 | MP4, AVC, 1370 kbps, 960x540 | AAC, 128 kbps, 2 Ch | 34x28 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 10.44GB

Many of us have the mistaken idea that only “born artists” can paint. But the truth is much more exciting—with the right training, anyone can learn the skill of painting! In The Complete Painter: Lessons from the Masters, an award-winning art instructor teaches those skills in 34 easy-to-follow lessons.

The novice will learn the fundamentals of oil painting, from choosing paints and brushes to composition, to a wide variety of specific painting techniques. The experienced painter will gain greater knowledge of oil paints, mediums, lighting, color, and structure. The course includes hands-on experiences for all students, from making your own pigment and paint to copying the methods and compositional choices of the great masters.

In The Complete Painter: Lessons from the Masters, you’ll learn to paint using the same steps taught at the best art schools around the country. Your teacher, David Brody, award-winning Professor of Painting and Drawing at of the University of Washington, begins with the basics, taking you on a fascinating deep dive into the physical properties of oil paint itself, including how to work safely with hazardous materials. From there, you’ll move into the study of marks, lines, brushstrokes, and edges; value, color, and palettes; and how to prepare your canvases and rigid supports—including how to transfer the required underdrawings that are provided in your course guidebook. Next, you’ll study techniques by copying from some of the world’s most iconic paintings.

Throughout this course, your professor guides you in your work, painting right along with you during the exercises—illustrating everything from how he mixes and thins his paints to paint application and removal. But this is not a paint-by-numbers course, nor will you see your professor start and finish paintings in real-time. This is a course for those who are motivated and energized about learning to paint, for those who understand that acquiring a depth of “behind-the-scenes” knowledge will be more valuable in the long run than mimicking every stroke of a teacher.

Course Organization

The Complete Painter: Lessons from the Masters includes several, distinct types of lessons, all of which come together to provide college-level expertise about the history, materials, and techniques of oil painting:

  • Materials. You’ll learn about the real “must-haves” for your workspace—paper, pencils, additives, brushes, and the six specific tubes of paint you’ll need for your first palette. You’ll learn the difference between flexible and rigid supports, how to work with proportional dividers, and how to best light your workspace.
  • Palettes. Just as a chef can’t include every spice in any one recipe, a painter must limit color to create a unique work. You’ll learn to work with some of the classic restricted palettes—grisaille, brunaille, and earth-tone—as well as a more expansive palette toward the end of the course.
  • Exercises. You’ll have many opportunities to practice basic painting techniques such as lines, marks, and shapes, as well as skills related to ground, balance, space, and more.
  • Projects. Once you have your materials, understand your palette options, and have practiced a great variety of techniques, you will move on to larger projects. Your professor leaves you with some suggestions for creating projects of your own. And, you’ll certainly be ready for the challenge!

In the Grand Tradition of Copying the Masters

The idea of “copying” someone else’s work can carry a negative connotation. But for many hundreds of years, painters have known that if they wanted to paint like the best, they needed to study the best. The Louvre opened its doors to copyists more than 225 years ago and continues a formal and tightly regulated program for copyists today. Cézanne is quoted as having said, “The Louvre is the book from which we learn to read.” Chagall, Dali, Degas, Picasso certainly agreed—Louvre copyists, all.

Continuing in that grand tradition, this course will take you on a deep dive into some of the most iconic works of Western art. You, too, can discover how the masters worked, studying characteristics of their paintings from composition to value to brush strokes. You’ll consider:

  • The Ballerina by Degas. You’ll analyze a great range of mark making, from brushwork to scratched hatchings. You’ll learn first-hand the value of both adding and removing paint to achieve a desired texture.
  • Still Life by Morandi. You’ll study depth and focus without the highlight of chiaroscuro, as Morandi hovered between two and three dimensions. As you explore how some of his objects seem to “dissolve,” you’ll learn new ways to work with edges.
  • The Scream by Munch. You’ll see that even very representational paintings are not mere assemblages of rendered objects. Instead, they’re highly organized groupings of interlocking shapes. And although many assume this was created in a fit of emotion, you’ll learn how meticulously Munch planned this work—over a period of 19 years.
  • Guernica by Picasso. You’ll learn how powerful even the most limited of palettes can be. In this large and formidable painting, the drama is enhanced by the ancient monochrome technique known as grisaille. And although Picasso’s individual elements are moder—and even shocking—their composition is classical and symmetric; almost every element on the left is answered by a specific element on the right.
  • The Last Supper by Leonardo. By studying the intricate geometric composition of this work, you’ll begin to see the underlying formation that binds its elements together—the rectangle’s armature. You’ll begin to appreciate the way the armature directs the painting’s composition, a composition that artists have used for many hundreds of years.

Make Your Own Materials

Beyond the paintings and technical exercises, The Complete Painter: Lessons from the Masters gives you many opportunities to dig in and create the tools and mediums that painters have been making for centuries. Although you can certainly buy all the materials, by learning how to make them, you’ll develop a deeper understanding of their functionality, as well as be able to create them to your exact specifications. Among many other materials, this course provides step-by-step instructions for making:

  • Damar varnish. You can easily make this varnish from damar crystals and turpentine.
  • Flexible supports. Learn how to make your own supports from the purchase of the linen and stretchers to stretching the linen over the frame, and making your own rabbit-hide glue to size the linen.
  • Gesso. Making your own traditional gesso from chalk, white pigment, glue, and water takes a bit of time, but it provides a beautiful, very smooth, white surface for painting on rigid supports.
  • Painting table and brush table. Step-by-step directions for building these two tables from ¾-inch plywood can be found in the course guidebook. While they take some time to build, they’ll provide all the support you’ll need for your work. They also provide the convenience of having your materials protected, and having them exactly where you need them every time.

The Complete Painter: Lessons from the Masters is a robust and energetic guide to oil painting for those who have always been enamored of this skill, but were afraid to give it a try. With your professor’s easy-going manner, calm and clear instruction, and obvious love of the subject, you’ll be painting in no time!

The Complete Painter: Lessons from the Masters [TTC Video]

Understanding the Old Testament [TTC Video]

Understanding the Old Testament [TTC Video]
Understanding the Old Testament [TTC Video] by Robert D Miller II, PhD
Course No 6013 | MP4, AVC, 960x540 | AAC, 128 kbps, 2 Ch | 24x30m | 7.06GB

The 39 books of the Old Testament constitute the Hebrew Bible, comprise nearly three quarters of the Christian Bible, and contain substantial material considered sacred within Islam. As such, the Old Testament is among the most influential and widely read texts in world history.

Even beyond its religious functions, the Old Testament has permeated Western culture since its creation, giving rise to innumerable references to the text and stories within Western literature, historical writing, philosophy, and art. For these reasons and more, the importance of the Old Testament in cultural, religious, and historical terms would be hard to overemphasize.

Now, in 24 dynamic lectures, Understanding the Old Testament takes a new look at this seminal text, filled with fresh perspectives, rich visual aids, and fascinating examination of the text, shedding light on the monumental impact of one of the world’s most beloved books.

Even beyond its religious functions, the Old Testament has permeated Western culture since its creation, giving rise to uncountable references to the text and stories within Western literature, historical writing, philosophy, and art. For these reasons and more, the importance of the Old Testament in cultural, religious, and historical terms would be hard to overemphasize. A grasp of the core writings of the Old Testament offers you valuable insight into subjects such as:

  • The conceptions of divinity and theology at the heart of Judaism and Christianity;
  • The epic story of the ancient Israelites on their journey across the Fertile Crescent;
  • The history of the cultures of the ancient Near East;
  • The richness and diversity of the literature, songs, poetry, and letters embodied within the text;
  • The ways in which the writings have shaped our intellectual and artistic heritage; and
  • The notions of ethics, moral philosophy, and social justice that have guided the unfolding of Western civilization.

A World-Shaping Literature

In 24 engrossing lectures, enriched with vivid color imagery and maps, Professor Miller guides you through many of the major books of the Old Testament, inviting you to probe their meaning and relevance in incisive and thought-provoking commentary. Among the books of the Old Testament that he highlights in detail, you’ll explore:

  • Genesis: Uncover revealing features of the opening text of the Old Testament, such as how the events of the first week of creation form an elaborate pattern, expressing the complex order of the universe; and how the text does not lay primary blame for “the fall” on the woman, Eve;
  • Deuteronomistic History: Across the books of Judges, Samuel, and Kings, study the dramatic history of the people of Israel in the Promised Land, bound to God by a covenant; follow the story of the Israelites’ disobedience to God, and its tragic consequences;
  • The Prophets: Through the dramatic narratives of Elijah, Amos, Jeremiah, and Isaiah, take account of the challenges faced by those who sought to actualize God’s plan for humanity;
  • The Books of Ruth and Esther: Among notable women in the Old Testament, explore two stories of women in the ancient Near East who are doubly at risk, and who prevail through loyalty, resourcefulness, and integrity;
  • Daniel and the Apocalyptic: In the Book of Daniel, encounter the genre of apocalyptic literature—revelation initiated by God—and contemplate the figure of “the Son of Man,” a promised redeemer.

Probe Deeply into the Inner Meanings of the Text

Throughout these extraordinary lectures, Professor Miller offers a wealth of intriguing perspectives on how to approach the text of the Old Testament. In numerous cases, you’ll assess the role of translation in the understanding of the texts, studying the meanings of key Hebrew words and words of ancient languages. You’ll also look in depth at the history, dating, and writing of the texts themselves. In addition, you’ll study the literary and linguistic features of many of the texts, noting how they achieve their impact on the reader.

In Understanding the Old Testament, you’ll take a revelatory look at this epically impactful document, learning to find its deeper historical and religious meanings, as well as to savor its sublime literary treasures.

Understanding the Old Testament [TTC Video]

Understanding the New Testament [TTC Video]

Understanding the New Testament [TTC Video]
Understanding the New Testament [TTC Video] by David Brakke, PhD, MDiv
Course No 6006 | MP4, AVC, 960x540 | AAC, 128 kbps, 2 Ch | 24x30m | 7.7GB

The New Testament is a fascinating book—the canonical root of Christian history and theology. Yet the book is also a paradox, because this single “book” is comprised of 27 different books by more than a dozen authors, each of whom has a different perspective and is responding to a different set of historical circumstances. How do you reconcile this diversity of voices into a single, unified belief system? And should you even try?

For historians, the diversity of authors is not a challenge to be reckoned with, but rather an exciting opportunity. In the New Testament, we have 27 primary sources that offer a doorway to the captivating history of the early Christian communities. In these books, you can discover how:

  • Christian practices developed;
  • Conflicts of belief were debated and addressed;
  • The institution of the Church evolved; and
  • A man named Jesus of Nazareth was transformed into the Messiah.

Join Professor David Brakke, an award-winning Professor of History at The Ohio State University, for Understanding the New Testament. In these 24 eye-opening lectures, he takes you behind the scenes to study not only the text of the New Testament, but also the authors and the world in which it was created. You will explore Jewish lives under Roman occupation, reflect on the apocalyptic mood of the first and second centuries A.D., and witness the early Christians’ evangelism beyond the Jewish communities.

Moving through the New Testament chronologically, starting with Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians, Professor Brakke identifies the evidence for when each book was written, along with context that helps explain why each was authored. He also points out discrepancies in the narrative and helps identify the “why” behind the differing accounts.

You might think that a rigorous historical analysis would take away the mystery and magic of the New Testament, but as Professor Brakke ably demonstrates, a deep investigation shows just how extraordinary the New Testament really is. You will gain insight into issues that remain vital for Christianity today, from the tension between faith and works for salvation, to Christian relations with the government, to the role of women in the congregation. In Understanding the New Testament, you will witness the birth of a faith that continues to shape our world.

The Epistles of Paul: All about Audience

Beyond Jesus himself, the most important figure in the New Testament is the apostle Paul, who evangelized in the middle of the first century A.D. More than a dozen letters in the New Testament are ascribed to him (though he likely didn’t write all of them himself), and these letters collectively present a survey of early Christian theology, including:

  • The primacy of faith over works for salvation;
  • The relationship between Christianity and governing laws;
  • The nature of imprisonment and slavery; and
  • What it means to be a pastor or teacher.

In addition to presenting the content of Paul’s letters, Professor Brakke gives you the historical context around why they were written, and who they were written for. For example, as an apostle, Paul roamed the region, setting up one congregation after another. His letter to the Galatians serves as a rebuke to one of his congregations after he left. He believed the Galatians had backslid when some new preachers came to town, and he wrote the Galatians to reinforce his key message of faith as the means for salvation.

Throughout your investigation, you’ll also consider questions of authorship. While 13 books in the New Testament are ascribed to Paul, most historians agree several letters—such as 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus—were not written by Paul himself. Why were some of these letters possibly forged? And what does that tell us about the development of Christianity? What does it mean for our understanding of the New Testament?

The Gospel according to Whom?

The gospels are, of course, the heart of the New Testament, telling the story of Jesus of Nazareth, his life, death, and resurrection. As theological documents, they are rich with moral instructions and inspirational stories. As historical documents, they offer a tantalizing window into one of the most exciting periods in human history, in which one poor prophet in a scruffy backwater created a revolution that completely up-ended the old religious order.

By analyzing the four gospels as historical documents, you will run into a number of challenging questions, including:

  • Who wrote the gospels anyway?
  • When and why were they written?
  • Are they accurate accounts of the historical Jesus?
  • How do they tell a similar or, more interestingly, different story?
  • What do historians make of the discrepancies?

To help answer these questions, Professor Brakke offers plentiful explications of the texts. For instance, you will reflect on the story of the feeding of 5,000 as presented in Mark versus Matthew—and the theological agenda motivating each writer. You’ll also survey the grand historical narrative told in Luke and the Book of Acts, and see how the author was consciously creating a story with a point of view on the history.

Matthew, Mark, and Luke are known as the “synoptic gospels” and are quite similar. The Gospel of John, however, is an anomaly worth taking a closer look at. As you delve into this spiritual gospel, with its poetry and philosophy, you also must take into account its troubling portrayal of the Jews—and what that might mean for Christian history.

Thorny Issues for a Fledgling Religion

One key message Professor Brakke returns to throughout this course is the New Testament’s diversity—of authorship, of theological intent, and of literary form. Whereas the gospels present an account of Jesus’s life and the epistles offer a theological message, the Book of Revelation offers a prophetic vision of the end of days.

To understand this book—and the entire era of early Christianity—Professor Brakke takes you back to the Old Testament and God’s covenants with Abraham, Moses, and David. According to the scripture, the descendants of Abraham should have inherited freedom in Israel, a condition that was not true at the turn of the common era. The Romans controlled Palestine and many Jews were living in diaspora as a result of the Babylonian Captivity.

Perhaps out of a sense that things were not as they should be, the era was fraught with a mood of “apocalyptic eschatology”—a feeling that the end of days were near and that God would be sending a messiah. Hence, preachers like John the Baptist were promoting salvation through baptism.

As you will see, this sense of imminent doom pervaded the time of the historical Jesus, a time arguably right for a figure like Jesus Christ. In A.D. 70, the Romans destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem, beginning a new religious era for Jews and Christians. This is the historical context during which the New Testament was written and codified, and through the gospels, letters, and revelations, you can see a fledgling church in formation—unified in spite of (or because of) the era’s diversity.

This tension between unity and diversity brings us back to the beginning. How do you build a unified church, with one path to salvation, in a world of different peoples, classes, and perspectives? This paradox continues to make the 27 books of the New Testament endlessly fascinating. Through Professor Brakke’s investigations, Understanding the New Testament will open your eyes to the many complexities of this book—and point the way toward a lifetime of further study.

Understanding the New Testament [TTC Video]

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