Life Lessons From the Great Myths

Life Lessons From the Great Myths

Downloadable Audiobook - 2015
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Professor Fears does more than just deliver insightful lectures. He tells vibrant stories with passion and drama, so much so that you'll find yourself not just learning about these myths and stories, but actually reliving them. You'll watch the brothers Romulus and Remus fight over where to build the city of Rome and, in the process, give birth to an iconic ancient empire; walk with Moses and the Israelites as they escape from Egyptian bondage and establish religious traditions that continue to this day; charge with Jesse James as he commits his daring crimes and transcends into a veritable folk hero of the American frontier; follow alongside American troops as they raise the U.S. flag over Iwo Jima for a photograph that would inspire the nation; and much more. The search for wisdom is, according to Professor Fears, the paramount purpose in life. And there is much wisdom to be gleaned from the world's great myths. By the final powerful and stirring lecture of this course, you're sure to find yourself wiser than you were before you started.
Publisher: [Chantilly, Va.] :, Teaching Company,, [2015]
Copyright Date: ℗2015
ISBN: 9781682765609
Characteristics: 1 online resource.
digital, Digital recording, rda
data file, rda
Additional Contributors: Teaching Company


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Feb 27, 2018

The sympathy Professor Fears admits for the Hebrew and Christian myths is distinctly out of place in an otherwise mostly neutral and fascinating presentation. His claim that Genesis is the “most beautiful” (not defined), “most coherent” (not defined), and “noblest” (loosely defined) of all the world’s myths is deeply suspect. It is perfectly obvious that Professor Fears’ narrow worldview has contaminated whatever semblance of objectivity he purports to bring to the subject of myths, especially given that he never once discusses myths outside the Hebrew or European traditions (e.g. Greek, Latin, English, Norse). The lectures are, in fact, an unwitting lesson in Eurocentricity: not a single myth is presented from a tradition other than Hebrew, European, and Euroamerican. Toward the end of the lectures, he contents himself with lectures on American history, such as the Western Frontier, but dwells so fully on the historical details that it is not clear where, or if, the myth comes in. With a vast trove of world myths to choose from, it is very disappointing that Professor Fears errs exclusively on the side of the Western canon rather than fostering an appreciation of myth as a truly cross-cultural mechanism for relaying “higher truths,” which he claims is one of the principal functions of a great myth. Throughout the lectures, he pushes against the received position of myths as historically baseless by giving evidence that most of them have a “kernel of historical truth,” and much of what he says is indeed convincing to the layperson, but nowhere does he explain what a “kernel” is or how much of a kernel is required to bring a myth into the realm of plausibility or even what the approximate criteria might be for distinguishing between historically baseless myths (his major examples being creation stories and the story of Atlantis) and those with some basis in actual events. On balance, I do recommend these audio lectures to anyone interested in mythology and the extent to which myths can be claimed to offer historical insight. But be warned that the content is strongly biased in favor first of the European tradition, and second of the Judeo-Christian, and cannot be claimed to represent any kind of worldwide overview.

Dec 19, 2017

I remembering in grammar school loving all the big book myth stories. Now there is an adult teaching a required myth lecture series. Wow, very vivid and animated story interrupter.
I am going to pick up one of those big book reader and relive the stories again.

Feb 19, 2016

Fears is an amazing storyteller. I love his sense of humor on serious, studious subjects. One of the best lecturers you will hear in Great Courses.

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