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George R. Murray

It kills me to think of how many years I've wasted driving around in my car and doing house/yard work when I could have been learning.

Boise, ID USA

  • 5 reviews
  • 5 ratings
  • 103 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2015

  • Luther: Gospel, Law, and Reformation

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Phillip Cary

    How did one man-a humble monk and Bible professor-spark a religious rebellion that changed the course of history? What made Martin Luther's theology so explosive in 16th-century Europe? How did this late-medieval man launch the Protestant Reformation and help create the modern world? And how should we think of him: hero or heretic, rebel or tormented soul? Find out the answer to these questions and more in this series of 24 engaging lectures.

    Chris says: "Loved it!"
    "Painful but necessary; like eating your brocolli."
    Would you try another book from The Great Courses and/or Professor Phillip Cary?

    After listening to two of Prof. Cary's courses, I respect and appreciate his style, enthusiasm and knowledge of the material, though I cringe at his frequent usage of seemingly unconscious prompts of, "Right?" after making a point. Most speakers will let slip an occasional 'um,' 'uh,' or in this case, "Right?" but Cary uses the third early and often, which for me at least, proved detrimental to the course as a whole. For this reason alone, I don't think I could endure another of his courses.

    What other book might you compare Luther: Gospel, Law, and Reformation to and why?

    Not surprisingly, this course reminded me of the type of things I heard in Cary's "Augustine," course, which was often difficult to listen to as well because of all the, "we're unworthy...predestination...sin...heretic...Satan...hellfire and damnation types of messages from both Augustine and Luther. I feel both courses were similar to those classic books which so many find excruciating to read, yet will (at least one day) admit he or she is better for having done so. Cary's 'right?' usage aside, my primary lack of enthusiasm for each course is more "the message" than the messenger.

    What three words best describe Professor Phillip Cary’s voice?

    Passionate, occasionally playful

    What else would you have wanted to know about The Great Courses’s life?

    I don't understand this question. Whose life? Luther's or The Great Courses? If Luther, I would want to know how he could approach his life's mission with the idea of rooting out corruption in a corrupted institution (which was a good thing) but then end up spewing so much self-loathing and castigation of others to the extent that the 3rd Reich enthusiastically embraced his opinions and suggestions on how the Jews and their synagogues should be treated. What went wrong, Martin? What part of Jesus' teachings were you following here?

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Books That Have Made History: Books That Can Change Your Life

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Rufus J. Fears

    Why do "Great Books" continue to speak to us hundreds and even thousands of years after they were written? Can they deepen our self-knowledge and wisdom? Are our lives changed in any meaningful way by the experience of reading them?Tackle these questions and more in these 36 engaging lectures. Beginning with his definition of a Great Book as one that possesses a great theme of enduring importance, noble language that "elevates the soul and ennobles the mind," and a universality that enables it to "speak across the ages," Professor Fears examines a body of work that offers extraordinary wisdom to those willing to receive it.

    Kristi Richardson says: "A course that will open you to new ideas."
    "Fascinating, Entertaining, Impactful: Best Course"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Having listened to 15 Great Courses over the last couple months, I took this course with a little trepidation, largely based on the mediocre Teach Company reviews. Yet something strange happened right from the first lecture: each book was fascinating, his lecture style became more contagious, and most importantly, I began to see the crucial importance of his underlying messages. The first statement of the course title is pretty clear cut and these books have accomplished the claim of making history because they're still around (much to the dismay of many students) hundreds...thousands of years after being written. I can make no universal claims for the second part of the title but I can speak for myself--this part was true as well. Similar to the way I felt after reading the last (to date) of George RR Martin's Song of Fire and Ice series, I grieved to be done with this course. What could top this, I wondered? Thankfully, J Rufus has several titles to choose from, so all is not lost. I loved this course and am wiser for it.

    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I thought J Rufus was at his best--and most endearing--when summarizing a story by providing the voices of its pivotal characters. His drawl and enthusiasm was comical, fun and surprisingly effective in demystifying and contemporizing often ancient the Gilgamesh lecture was particularly enjoyable.

    What does Professor Rufus J. Fears bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    J Rufus takes 30+ books and weaves the strands of their shared virtues, overarching themes, and contemporary relevance into critically important message for today's society. That would be a tough feat to duplicate by reading any one, two or dozen of these books on my own. By experiencing J Rufus's course as a whole, I came to understand that so much of what is portrayed in this course seems to be missing--though is seemingly not missed--from our 21st century.

    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Antiquity's Plea

    12 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • Great Figures of the New Testament

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Amy-Jill Levine

    Improve your biblical literacy with these 24 insightful lectures about the cast of vivid characters in the New Testament. From the well-known figures of Jesus, John the Baptist, and the disciples to important but lesser known figures, such as the Syro-Phoenician woman who must turn Jesus's own words back on him to gain the healing of her daughter, Professor Levine paints vivid portraits of Christianity's founding generation.You'll learn about such figures as. the elderly couple Elizabeth and Zechariah and their son, John the Baptist;. Jesus's friends, the contemplative Mary and the vocal Martha, as well as their brother, Lazarus;. the apostles Peter and Thomas, James and John, and Judas Iscariot;. Mary Magdalene, who becomes known as the apostle to the apostles;. Paul the apostle, as presented in Acts of the Apostles and what can be determined about him from his letters;. a number of strong and interesting women, including the unnamed Samaritan and a repentant sinner who anoints Jesus; and. Jesus's interlocutors, including the centurion with a paralyzed son and the desperate Canaanite mother with a demon-possessed daughter.Rather than promoting any particular religious worldview, this course seeks to read the ancient texts anew to discover what they really say and how they were interpreted by both the secular culture and the faithful church.

    George R. Murray says: "Deceptively Modest Theme Chock Full of Knowledge"
    "Deceptively Modest Theme Chock Full of Knowledge"
    What made the experience of listening to Great Figures of the New Testament the most enjoyable?

    I enjoyed the realization of how little I (and probably 90+ percent of US Christians) really know about 1) the figures of the New Testament, 2) the historical contexts of the (ancient) times, 3) how many myths and falsehoods lifelong Christians take for inviolable truth and 4) some of the unfortunate consequences of our faith that have been swept under the rug.

    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Not only has Mary of Magdala's reputation taken a completely undeserved beating for the last 2000 years, but her enormous contributions to the Christian faith have been grossly understated as well. If there was any justice in this world, she would be named the 13th Apostle forthwith.

    What about Professor Amy-Jill Levine’s performance did you like?

    Professor Levine's deep reservoir of historical and scholarly knowledge never obscures her passion for this material, and her wry bits of humor never disrespect it. For thinner-skinned adherents to rigid orthodoxy though, enjoyment levels may vary.

    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    There were many wonderful, sad, touching, courageous and tragic moments throughout the lectures, but after listening to this entire course, I keep coming back to one nagging question: "What the heck was 'saint' Stephen thinking?"

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Cultural Literacy for Religion: Everything the Well-Educated Person Should Know

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Mark Berkson

    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.

    George R. Murray says: "Could Not Have Been Better"
    "Could Not Have Been Better"
    What did you love best about Cultural Literacy for Religion: Everything the Well-Educated Person Should Know?

    Brilliantly organized and told; not a dull moment and very thought provoking.

    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    The most compelling aspect of this course is that I see the world through different eyes now, moving beyond 'tolerating' different religions to actually understanding, appreciating and even adopting elements of others' beliefs to my own, which has expanded my spirituality.

    Which scene was your favorite?

    Surprisingly, given my past attitudes, I enjoyed the chapters on Islam the most. Learning more about the true spirit of Islam allows me to see a large percentage of people on this planet in a new, more favorable light.

    What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

    Learning the meaning--and significance--of the Hindu greeting, "Namaste," is probably the most beautiful custom I've ever found in any religion. From my standpoint, it's literally a life-changing discovery.

    Any additional comments?

    Professor Mark Berkson put together a masterpiece with this course, and I'll look to see what else of his I can either listen to or read.

    20 of 22 people found this review helpful
  • Podcast Launch: A Step by Step Podcasting Guide

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 35 mins)
    • By John Lee Dumas
    • Narrated By John Lee Dumas

    Have you ever considered creating your very own podcast? Podcast Launch will take you through the entire process, from step one to step done. These tutorials will make your podcast experience enjoyable and stress-free. Podcast Launch begins with identifying your podcast, followed by the equipment needed, recording and editing, intros and outros, tagging your MP3, uploading to a media host, embedding your MP3 onto your website, submitting your podcast to iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and Blackberry, launching your podcast the right way, and monetizing.

    Dave Anthold says: "Anyone Can Start a Podcast!"
    "Comprehensive, Concise and Very Inspiring"
    What made the experience of listening to Podcast Launch the most enjoyable?

    There are many options for Podcast How-To guides but after listening to "Entrepreneur on Fire" creator John Dumas lay out his step-by-step approach, I felt I made the right choice by selecting his audiobook. At just over an hour, Dumas provides busy listeners with a wealth of hard-won knowledge on this subject in an economical--but impassioned--manner that will leave a reader/listener with a confidence and eagerness to say, "Okay, let's start this thing NOW!" His enthusiasm, humility and expertise--not to mention the authority that comes from backing up everything he says with his own results--make this a very compelling guide to jumping into the unknown and intimidating waters of the podcast. Between the book and his online tutorials, you'll be swimming from the get-go.

    What about John Lee Dumas’s performance did you like?

    As a frequent customer, I've come to appreciate hearing these books through the voices of professional readers, but made an exception in this case because it was fun to hear how excited he is about this topic.

    What insight do you think you’ll apply from Podcast Launch?

    Since he wrote this book with a pronounced economy of words, there was nothing superfluous here. Having said that, he wouldn't have added any of his How-To steps unless each was important, if not critical. Therefore, I'll follow his suggestions to the letter.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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