The Great Courses: Comparative & World Religion

21 books in series
4.5 out of 5 stars 521 ratings

The Dead Sea Scrolls Summary

Whether complete or only fragmentary, the 930 extant Dead Sea Scrolls irrevocably altered how we look at and understand the foundations of faith and religious practice. Now you can get a comprehensive introduction to this unique series of archaeological documents, and to scholars' evolving understanding of their authorship and significance, with these 24 lectures. Learn what the scrolls are, what they contain, and how the insights they offered into religious and ancient history came into focus.

In following the extraordinary story of how the scrolls were acquired and ultimately published - a story fully 40 years in its unfolding - you'll also explore an almost unlimited treasure trove of new facts and insights. Throughout the lectures, you'll learn about these and other topics: the only historical instance of the Jews ever forcibly converting a conquered people to Judaism; the rare stroke of scholarly fortune represented in the discovery of the first seven scrolls sealed in jars; and the extraordinary intrigue (sometimes spanning generations) that overlays the story of the scrolls.

At the heart of this series are the documents themselves. You'll spend a wealth of time reading parts of the actual scrolls in English translation, training your eye to uncover the salient religious practices and intriguing theological ideas expressed in these documents. By the conclusion of the final lecture, you'll have developed a newfound understanding and appreciation of an unprecedented historical find and its enduring influence on the way we think about - and talk about - ancient Judaism and Christianity.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2010 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2010 The Great Courses
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    • The Dead Sea Scrolls

    • By: Gary A. Rendsburg, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Gary A. Rendsburg
    • Length: 12 hrs and 21 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 59
    • Performance
      5 out of 5 stars 56
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 55

    Whether complete or only fragmentary, the 930 extant Dead Sea Scrolls irrevocably altered how we look at and understand the foundations of faith and religious practice. Now you can get a comprehensive introduction to this unique series of archaeological documents, and to scholars' evolving understanding of their authorship and significance, with these 24 lectures. Learn what the scrolls are, what they contain, and how the insights they offered into religious and ancient history came into focus.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Excellent: Much More Than The Dead Sea Scrolls

    • By Jonathan on 29-03-15

    Regular price: £32.79

    • Cultural Literacy for Religion: Everything the Well-Educated Person Should Know

    • By: Mark Berkson, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Mark Berkson
    • Length: 12 hrs and 20 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 25
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      4.5 out of 5 stars 24
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      4.5 out of 5 stars 24

    According to polls conducted by Gallup and the Pew Research Forum on Religion & Public Life, the majority of Americans fail basic tests about religion, including tests on their own faith. This is troublesome because religious literacy is about so much more than naming deities or knowing the stories of ancient history. For many of us, religion is a way to examine and understand ourselves. These 24 enlightening lectures offer you the chance to experience the world's religions from all angles – historical, theological, and cultural.

    • 4 out of 5 stars
    • Great overview of the world's major faiths

    • By Mr on 23-07-15

    Regular price: £32.79

    • God and Mankind: Comparative Religions

    • By: Robert Oden, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Robert Oden
    • Length: 5 hrs and 46 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      5 out of 5 stars 4
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      5 out of 5 stars 3
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      4.5 out of 5 stars 3

    How do the major religions answer unanswerable questions? What can we gain from their answers? Why are we here? Will we ever discover the source of the mystery? Each of these questions raises countless more, and these eight eye-opening lectures are an ideal starting point for gaining some progress in considering them. Professor Oden's lectures approach religious belief and ritual as possible answers to these most difficult and enduring questions, which have occupied humanity from the beginning.

    Regular price: £9.69

    • Buddhism

    • By: Malcolm David Eckel, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Malcolm David Eckel
    • Length: 12 hrs and 30 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 90
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 78
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      4.5 out of 5 stars 77

    Buddhism has captivated many millions of people around the world, its vitality and adaptability enabling it to transform the civilizations of India, Southeast Asia, Tibet, China, Korea, and Japan, and also become a lively component in the cultures of Europe, Australia, and the Americas. But have you ever wondered how a religion that doesn't even have a god could have accomplished this?

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • A great look at the development of Buddhism

    • By Kingster on 09-12-16

    Regular price: £32.79

    • Great World Religions: Christianity

    • By: Luke Timothy Johnson, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Luke Timothy Johnson
    • Length: 6 hrs and 10 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      3 out of 5 stars 2
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      4 out of 5 stars 1
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      3 out of 5 stars 1

    These 12 lectures are an engaging and comprehensive introduction to one of the world's greatest faiths. By concentrating on the basics that every well-educated individual should know, Professor Johnson's lectures provide you with a clear survey of the most important elements of this religious tradition-and a framework for further study.

    Regular price: £14.49

    • Great World Religions: Islam

    • By: John L. Esposito, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: John L. Esposito
    • Length: 6 hrs and 8 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4 out of 5 stars 52
    • Performance
      4 out of 5 stars 46
    • Story
      4 out of 5 stars 45

    How familiar are you with the world's second-largest and fastest-growing religion? In these 12 lectures, Professor Esposito guides you through the facts and myths surrounding Islam and its more than 1.2 billion adherents. Many in the West know little about the faith and are familiar only with the actions of a minority of radical extremists, but this lecture series will help you better understand Islam's role as both a religion and a way of life, and its deep impact on world affairs both historically and today.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Highly compressed scholarship

    • By Matt on 20-08-13

    Regular price: £11.29

    • Great World Religions: Judaism

    • By: The Great Courses, Isaiah M. Gafni
    • Narrated by: Isaiah M. Gafni
    • Length: 6 hrs and 13 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 7
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      4.5 out of 5 stars 7
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    What is the essence of Judaism? Is it the Ten Commandments, given by God to Israel at Mount Sinai? Or is it the totality of teachings in the Hebrew Bible? Or is it symbolized by something outside the Bible? Find out with this illuminating 12-lecture investigation of the fundamental concepts, beliefs, issues, and themes in the ever-changing, 4,000-year-old saga of Judaism, one of the world's most ancient and influential faiths. Throughout the lectures, you'll study Judaism from within-as it was understood by its adherents in the past and by those who practice or identify with Judaism today.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Top class

    • By Amazon Customer on 21-05-18

    Regular price: £14.09

    • Great World Religions: Hinduism

    • By: Mark W. Muesse, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Mark W. Muesse
    • Length: 6 hrs and 5 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4 out of 5 stars 21
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      4.5 out of 5 stars 20
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      4 out of 5 stars 20

    In this 12-lecture series, you'll encounter a religion that is perhaps the most diverse of all; one that worships more gods and goddesses than any other, and one that rejects the notion that there is only one path to the divine. These lectures provide a window into the roots of, perhaps, all religions. You'll explore the course of Hinduism's 5,000-year journey.

    • 1 out of 5 stars
    • A very basic introduction to Hinduism

    • By Wally Harrison on 30-04-16

    Regular price: £14.09

    • Great World Religions: Buddhism

    • By: Malcolm David Eckel, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Malcolm David Eckel
    • Length: 6 hrs and 13 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      2 out of 5 stars 1
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      2 out of 5 stars 1
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      0 out of 5 stars 0

    Discover why Buddhism is such an astonishingly lively and adaptable religion with this series. In just 12 accessible lectures, you'll learn how Buddhism transformed the civilizations of India and much of Asia, and has now become a vital part of Western culture.Buddhism's core philosophy, as you'll learn, is that nothing is permanent-all is change. With this in mind, you'll plunge into an introductory look at this faith. You'll unpack the Buddhist idea that all of life is "suffering" and that there is no permanent self.

    Regular price: £14.49

    • Introduction to the Study of Religion

    • By: Charles B. Jones, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Charles B. Jones
    • Length: 11 hrs and 57 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 4
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      4.5 out of 5 stars 4
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      4 out of 5 stars 4

    The religious experience is an extraordinarily powerful force that can define and shape the communities it creates. Over the course of 24 lectures, Professor Jones takes a vibrant first look at the discipline known as religious studies and shows how other fields-sociology, psychology, anthropology, and phenomenology-have tried to explain the complex relationship between individuals, cultures, and faith.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Excellent introduction

    • By Amazon Customer on 25-06-17

    Regular price: £33.89

    • Mystical Tradition: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam

    • By: Luke Timothy Johnson, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Luke Timothy Johnson
    • Length: 18 hrs and 12 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4 out of 5 stars 10
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      4.5 out of 5 stars 9
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      4 out of 5 stars 9

    Each of the great three Abrahamic religious traditions holds the seeds for deep mystical contemplation. But what do most of us know about these mystics and the tradition they sustained? Explore this spiritual, literary, and intellectual heritage in these great faiths of the West as it unfolds over three millennia with these 36 enlightening, thought-provoking lectures that offer nearly

    Regular price: £39.39

    • Comparative Religion

    • By: Charles Kimball, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Charles Kimball
    • Length: 12 hrs and 28 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4 out of 5 stars 13
    • Performance
      4 out of 5 stars 12
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      4 out of 5 stars 11

    Get a solid working knowledge of the spiritual beliefs that unite and divide us - as well as the perspective from the other side of these divisions. These 24 lectures offer you an opportunity to gain a solid grasp of the key ideas of religion itself - the issues that repeatedly surface when you look at any faith's beliefs, practices, and organization. Using five major religions - Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism - as illustrations of how religions can address the same core issues in parallel and different ways, Professor Kimball leads you on an exploration of religion's complex and multidimensional nature.

    Regular price: £32.79

    • Religions of the Axial Age: An Approach to the World's Religions

    • By: Mark W. Muesse, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Mark W. Muesse
    • Length: 12 hrs and 29 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      5 out of 5 stars 5
    • Performance
      5 out of 5 stars 4
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      5 out of 5 stars 4

    These 24 extraordinary lectures offer you the rare opportunity to relate your own spiritual questions to a variety of ancient quests for meaning and transcendence. Professor Muesse looks at the historical conditions in which the world religions arose and explores how they answered shared metaphysical and human dilemmas.

    Regular price: £32.79

    • Religion in the Ancient Mediterranean World

    • By: Glenn S. Holland, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Glenn S. Holland
    • Length: 24 hrs and 35 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 11
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 10
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 10

    Step back to a time when the mysteries of the universe could seem overwhelming. Cycles of nature kept predictable time with the sun, the moon, and the stars, yet crops failed, disease struck, storms ravaged, and empires fell without warning. In the region surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, people responded to such tumult with a rich variety of religious beliefs.

    • 4 out of 5 stars
    • Contextualised overview on religion and philosophy

    • By Davide on 07-07-14

    Regular price: £49.69

    • Confucius, Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammad

    • By: Mark W. Muesse, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Mark W. Muesse
    • Length: 18 hrs and 55 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 56
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 46
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 47

    No understanding of human life, individual or collective, could be complete without factoring in the role and contribution of these history-shaping teachers. Now, this 36-lecture series takes you deep into the life stories and legacies of these four iconic figures, revealing the core teachings, and thoughts of each, and shedding light on the historical processes that underlie their phenomenal, enduring impact.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Fascinating

    • By C. Wilson on 16-06-14

    Regular price: £39.39

    • The Apocalypse: Controversies and Meaning in Western History

    • By: Craig R. Koester, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Craig R. Koester
    • Length: 12 hrs and 25 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      5 out of 5 stars 12
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 10
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      4.5 out of 5 stars 9

    Get an authoritative guide to this extraordinary work in 24 thought-provoking and enlightening lectures, divided into three parts: the historical and intellectual background of the Apocalypse; a close reading of John's text, focusing on the meaning of its images; and the wide-ranging impact of the book on Christian and Western history. Throughout these lectures, Professor Koester focuses on what John actually wrote. what his situation tells us about his meaning, how that meaning can be applied to our own lives, and how contemporary biblical scholars relate Revelation to the modern world.

    Regular price: £32.79

    • Why Evil Exists

    • By: Charles Mathewes, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Charles Mathewes
    • Length: 19 hrs and 6 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 25
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 21
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      4.5 out of 5 stars 20

    Whether we view it in theological, philosophical, or psychological terms, evil remains both a deeply intriguing question and a crucially relevant global issue. Now, Professor Mathewes offers you a richly provocative and revealing encounter with the question of human evil - a dynamic inquiry into Western civilization's greatest thinking and insight on this critical subject.

    • 3 out of 5 stars
    • Not Impressed: Disjointed

    • By Sergio on 20-07-15

    Regular price: £39.39

    • Sacred Texts of the World

    • By: Grant Hardy, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Grant Hardy
    • Length: 18 hrs and 15 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 35
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 30
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    With few exceptions, the world's religions are anchored in their sacred texts-core writings that express the ideals and vision of the faiths, forming a basis for belief and action. Humanity's library of sacred writings is a huge canon that includes many of the most influential books ever written.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Great introduction to a vast subject

    • By Sharl on 04-12-14

    Regular price: £40.69

    • The World of Biblical Israel

    • By: Cynthia R. Chapman, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Cynthia R. Chapman
    • Length: 12 hrs and 18 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 23
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 18
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 17

    From Genesis to Job, the Hebrew scriptures contain some of the most influential stories in Western civilization. But what do these stories tell us about daily life in ancient Israel? And why do they still speak to us today? In 24 captivating lectures, Professor Chapman introduces you to the stories of the Judeans in exile and grounds them in their historical context, giving you a grand vision of history as presented in the scriptures.

    • 4 out of 5 stars
    • Fascinating and informative but a bit too serious

    • By Jonathan on 11-10-14

    Regular price: £33.89

    • Gnosticism: From Nag Hammadi to the Gospel of Judas

    • By: David Brakke, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: David Brakke
    • Length: 12 hrs and 19 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 45
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 40
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 40

    This fascinating 24-lecture course is a richly detailed guide to the theology, sacred writings, rituals, and outstanding human figures of the Gnostic movements. What we call "Gnosticism" comprised a number of related religious ideologies and movements, all of which sought " gnosis," or immediate, direct, and intimate knowledge of God. The Gnostics had many scriptures, but unlike the holy texts of other religions, Gnostic scriptures were often modified over time.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • High quality study of Gnosticism

    • By Mike on 25-07-15

    Regular price: £33.89

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