Dead Sea Scrolls (The Great Courses)

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The year: 1947. A Bedouin shepherd tracks one of his stray goats into a cave mouth above the shore of the Dead Sea at a desolate place named Qumran. Inside, he discovers a pair of tall, thin clay pots. And what he finds when he opens those pots will be nothing less than the greatest […]

The World of Biblical Israel (The Great Courses)

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We all have associations with the word “Israel”—a modern-day nation in the Middle East that makes up part of the biblical Holy Land. But how did ancient Israel emerge? Who were the Israelites and where did they come from? What was it like to live in biblical Israel? Before unpacking these questions, it might help […]

Cultural Literacy for Religion: Everything the Well-Educated Person Should Know (The Great Courses)

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When does the Jewish Sabbath begin? Who are Vishnu and Shiva? What are Buddhism’s Four Noble Truths? What are the Five Pillars of Islam? These questions are more than an academic exercise. Religious belief has been innate to humans everywhere and in every age, from the time of the Neanderthals to the 21st century. It’s […]

Historical Jesus (The Great Courses)

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Who was Jesus of Nazareth? What was he like? For more than 2,000 years, people and groups of varying convictions have pondered these questions and done their best to answer them. The significance of the subject is apparent. From the late Roman Empire all the way to our own time, no continuously existing institution or […]

Holy Land Revealed (The Great Courses)

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As the birthplace of Judaism and Christianity, the Holy Land (the area in and around modern-day Israel) is one of the most important regions in the world. With a rich history stretching back over 3,000 years, this area is a sacred land for three major faiths and the setting for defining events in religious history, […]

Jesus and His Jewish Influences (The Great Courses)

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For anyone interested in understanding the profound effect Jesus had on the world, it’s important to realize that his actions and teachings didn’t emerge from a vacuum. Rather, they were the product of a fascinating dialogue with—and reaction to—the traditions, cultures, and historical developments of ancient Jewish beliefs. In fact, early Judaism and Jesus are […]

Old Testament (The Great Courses)

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The Old Testament, or Tanakh, was written in ancient Israel over 1,000 years by many authors. What can this book teach us about the ancient Israelites? What does our faith find in new scholarly understanding? As scripture or as the most influential piece of literature ever written, this book is a source of constant wonder, […]

Introduction to the Study of Religion (The Great Courses)

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Religion undoubtedly plays an important part in the lives of people around the world. As Professor Charles B. Jones notes, many people “would say [religion] is the most important part” of their lives and participate in the practices of their faith as a means of deepening their commitment to and understanding of the world around […]

Religion in the Ancient Mediterranean World (The Great Courses)

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How did people of ancient times cope with the overwhelming mysteries of the universe? The cycles of nature kept predictable time with the sun, moon, and stars; yet, without warning, crops failed, diseases struck, storms wreaked havoc, and empires fell. In the lands surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, they responded with a rich variety of religious […]

God and Mankind: Comparative Religions (The Great Courses)

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How do the major religions answer unanswerable questions? What can we gain from their answers? Why are we here? What is my purpose? Where do we go when we die? Will I be forgiven? Will we ever discover the source of the mystery? Each of these questions raises countless more. God and Mankind: Comparative Religions […]