Johannesburg, South Africa | Member Since 2009
Definitely yes. I have tried a few Great Courses and found them to be very interesting and informative. I have read or listened almost all prof. Ehrman's popular books. At this point it feels that a lot of what he teaches is just presented in new packaging.
I think he sometimes fall over his words and begins to 'uhm' especially when he says something that might be a bit controversial. It could be that speaking to an imaginative crowd could enhance his uncertainty.
Yes, though a lot seems to be ideas that I have come across in some of his other works. I hoped to learn more about the Apostolic Fathers than the brief summaries he would give of each book. That said, there are some very interesting comments and facts that made it worthwhile.
While not the best Great Courses lectures series, it is well worth the time to listen to.
In his newest book on the ancient Aegean Professor Eric H Cline, Chair of the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Languages at the George Washington University in Washington DC, USA, transports Everyman in his time machine to the lands surrounding the Ancient Aegean and Mediterranean Seas during the Late Bronze Age.
Once again this active digger and the winner of three “Best Popular Book on Archaeology” Awards (2000, 2009 and 2011) brings archaeology to the public. In “1177 BC. The Year Civilization Collapsed,” he starts off with the enigmatic ‘Sea Peoples’ of which the Philistines of Canaan was part. He recasts them into victims instead of presenting them as the conquerors who overrun the Ancient Aegean and Near East. Sketching a truly and surprisingly situation of flourishing cosmopolitan trade routes and political interaction between important Late Bronze cities, he gives a fresh and important look at this important era. The traditional stance that describes that the ‘Sea Peoples’ invaded and overrun the Ancient Mediterranean and Aegean lands, through conquest and due to their advanced technologies - especially the use of iron is seriously challenged in this book.
Cline spins a web which not only illuminates the mysterious late Bronze Age, but at the same time serves his argument. What I liked most about his book, was how he applied the past and what we learned from it on today. I never thought one could learn much about economy and its pitfalls from the Ancient World. Cline has proved it possible.
The book is the first book in a new series, ‘Turning Points in Ancient History” by Princeton University Press. It consists out of five chapters, each highlighting something that is significant to the Sea Peoples and the year 1177 BC. In the final chapter Cline pulls the strings together in a convincing crescendo.
I wish Audible had a PDF file with the maps and illustrations that you find in the hard copy available. If you use Whispersync, it will probably not matter or if you have bought the hard copy. That said the Audible version of the book is much cheaper than the written word, probably because it comes without illustrations and endnotes.
A last thing, I enjoyed Andy Caploe’s reading of the book. He actually brought some life in hard facts. His pronunciation was generally good.
I cannot say if this book will earn prof. Cline his fourth “Best Popular Book on Archaeology” award, but it definitely could.
This course is one of the best Great Courses lecture series I have come across. Prof. Grant Hardy has compiled and presents in this course a huge amount of information about various world religions through introducing their sacred scriptures. He presents it in such an enthusiastic and engaging manner that it is difficult to stop listening.
During these lectures he deals with all the major religions in the world and a few of the lesser known religions. He conveys a lot of empathy towards the different religious traditions without sacrificing his own faith tradition. (He actually kept me guessing about his background, until I listened to his lecture on the Book of Mormon and the Church of the Latter Day Saints' liturgy used in their temples as a spoken form of sacred text. An internet search confirmed my suspicion. That said, his engaging, objective and open-minded approach to different religions ensured that no clear bias towards any specific faith tradition could be detected.)
He dealt with Hinduism (4 lectures), Sikhism (1 lecture), Judaism (5 lectures), Zoroastrianism (1 lecture), Buddhism (6 lectures), Jainism (1 lecture), Confucianism (2 lectures), Daoism (2 lectures), Shinto and Tenrikyo (1 lectures), Christianity (4 lectures), Mormonism (1 lecture), Islam (3 lectures), Baha'i (1 lecture), Abandoned Scriptures (1 lecture) and Secular Scriptures (1 lecture) with an introductory and closing lecture added.
It is very interesting and insightful. For me his lectures the Hebrew Bible, Zoroastrianism and Buddhism were the most interesting. The idea that the Hebrew Bible is a text in conversation with itself is a brilliant observation. I found his discussion of the influence Zoroastrianism on Judaism and Christianity thought provoking. He helped me also to get a much better grasp on Buddhism. There is however much that I didn't know about other faith traditions like Baha'i and Islam and the relationship between them.
I would have chosen different abandoned scriptures (like the Ugaritic clay tablets or some Mesopotamian works, instead of the Egyptian Book of the Dead etc). However I realise that you cannot include everyone's likes and dislikes.
If you want to get to know something about the most important faiths in the world and what they received as holy texts, this is the course to enlighten you. It is very well researched and presented. A must-have course!
Prof. Peter M. Vishton is an expert in Cognitive Psychology who gives tips on how to raise your children... what was unusual to me was that he didn't do it from a religious perspective, but his suggestions flows from a scientific basis. He actually brings together a huge range of scientific experiments and data by which he sifts the corn from the proverbial chaff. That is the strength and appeal of this course. There is something that any parent can take out of the course that can be applied almost immediately to your own children irrespective of their age and development.
I especially liked Prof. Vishton's almost mantra-like caution that parents should not go overboard. He was also very careful not to give black and white answers how to be a parent. He suggested and supported certain things more than others like being a authoritative parent over and against and authoritarian, permissive or absent parent. I was surprised to discover that video games and even television programmes had a positive side to it, but also realised that children in the United States are in some ways very different from South African children - owning more than one video console - why? Why owning one at all? Be that as it may, this course is an excellent measuring rod by which you can measure your own parenting. It brings new ideas into your grasp, some of which I found had an immediate effect on my relationship with my eldest daughter - like over-explaining instead of just getting impatient and sometimes unnecessarily angry. I am also very glad to have been introduced to the Montessori hundred board.
If there is one concern about the course, is that it is too broad. Divide it into two or three more detailed courses. I think for instance sibling rivalry and the function of pets, which Prof. Vishton mentions towards the end of the course, can really benefit parents. Furthermore it will help to gain a better grasp upon a child in early childhood development, versus a teen and ultimately an adolescent. I would have liked also to know a bit more about gender roles and grand parents. I think the net for this course is thrown a bit wide and a few fish got away.
That said, it is an excellent course, very thought provoking, enlightening and very helpful to guide you in avoiding some of the pitfalls of parenting. I like Prof. Vishton's idea that parents should themselves become scientists when busy parenting their children. The course comes highly recommended (especially when you use an Audible credit to buy it... otherwise you might find it a bit pricey).
In 24 lectures prof. Clancy Martin makes his listeners realise that moral decision making is an important, yet often neglected part of life. He initially uses practical everyday scenario's to introduce those questions in life that seems to be the stuff that only Philosophers really ponder on. While highlighting various Western and Eastern Philosophical traditions as well as Christian and Buddhist religious traditions to show different ways in which you should approach a seemingly moral dilemma, he helps the listener to decide how he or she will deal with a certain issue in the future. Though he leads the listener in taking his view, especially towards the end of his lectures, he doesn't force it on you.
Maybe a little bit of criticism from my side would be his inability to think a bit more globally about certain issues, especially about things like the death penalty, recycling and caring for your elderly parents. I think that in these lectures he seems to be unable to escape his North American mindset. That said, it was still interesting, and even these lectures can be of help to someone from another continent.
The three lectures I found most valuable is "Aren't Whistle-blowers being disloyal?" and "What is wrong with Gossip?" and "Why can't I date a married person?" Some of the ways in which he navigates his reasoning through difficult issues without religious endorsement is ingenious. As a chaplain working within a multi-religious environment, this course is really beneficial.
I think the goal on any course in ethics would be to get people thinking about what they do and if it is right and wrong. By empowering people to evaluate their own actions, you can change people's behaviour radically and in a very short period of time. A successful course in ethics should just to what I've described above. Prof. Clancy Martin has surely succeeded through these Great Courses' lectures to do just that. It is recommended extremely high!
This review is about Deon Meyer's 'Thirteen Hours' (also available as an audio book at Audible) in its original language Afrikaans. Most of it will be in Afrikaans with a short English summary at the end.
Speur-Inspekteur Bennie Griesel van die Provinsiale Taakspan van die Speurdiens in die Wes Kaap is opsoek na 'n Amerikaanse meisie wat agtervolg word. Haar vriendin is reeds vermoor. Griesel is 'n ou-skool speurder wat amper sy loopbaan en definitief sy gesin weens die bottel weggegooi het... maar as hy werk, werk hy hard en onverpoosd totdat hy resultate kry.
Ek dink 13 Uur is 'n sorgvuldig en deeglike boek. Deon Meyer skets 'n lewensgetroue beeld van die Polisiediens. Selfs die swak taalgebruik en vloekwoorde van Bennie Griesel en sommige van sy kollegas oortuig. Daar is niks wat buitensporig is nie.
Nic de Jager se voorlesing is duidelik, teen 'n goeie pas en hy kry dit reg om 'n mens met sy stem in die storie in te trek.
Waarom dan net vier vir uitvoering en die storie? Omdat ek regtig dink dat hoewel dit is hoe Polisielede vloek hulle nie elke oomblik so vloek nie. Dit is meer steurend op die oor as op papier. Verder dink ek Nic de Jager lees "S.A.P.S." verkeerd. In Afrikaans is dit net wanneer iemand vinnig na 'Saps' (soos 'sap' met 'n 's') verwys dat die woord Saps gebruik anders is dit SAPD vir Suid-Afrikaanse Polisiediens.
Deon Meyer slaag egter om 'n boeiende en spannende verhaal op te dis met 'n geloofwaardige SA Polisiediens. Bennie Griesel is 'n soort Afrikaanse Sherlock Holmes, sonder maniere, met 'n vuilbek en 'n briljante instink. Lekker luister!
Detective Inspector Bennie Griesel is a member of the Provincial Task team of the Detective Service in the Western Cape, South Africa. With limited time on his hands he needs to find an American girl who is being pursued by unknown men. But time is little and Griesel is a rehabilitating alcoholic.
Though very real, I didn't like the constant swearing of Griesel. Even if the language is typical SA Police language, I do think it is a bit overdone.
Nic de Jager is an excellent interpretative reader but I disagree with his pronunciation of S.A.P.S.
Deon Meyer succeeds with a gripping and thrilling story that rings true to the SA Police Service. Bennie Griesel is a sort of Afrikaans Sherlock Holmes, without manners, a dirty tongue but brilliant instinct. Enjoy the listen... if you understand Afrikaans or listen to the English version by Saul Reiclin.
I am not sure. The Hitchhiker's Guide of the Galaxy (Primary Phase) is the original British radio drama of a now legendary SciFi comedy series. I thought the voice actors did a marvellous job but I am not so sure that Douglas Adams concepts has caught on to me. I like Terry Pratchett's wit and humour a bit more.
No I haven't so I cannot compare it with other narrations.
It doesn't need one, but it has quite a few, I believe. It is a radio drama with a sort of instant gratification humour. A sort of a radio sitcom. You can listen to one episode or to many it doesn't really make that much of a difference.
When a professor in programming, Kyle Riggs is abducted by an alien spaceship that shortly before has killed his children, he doesn't know how his life would change. Using the simple 'hero's journey' motive (where someone goes on a quest that changes him completely) B.V. Larson introduces his Star Force Series in true Military SciFi fashion.
In short Kyle Riggs ends up becoming a super soldier due to the nanites his not completely submissive alien ship injects into him. He also become part of the newly created 'Star Force' and becomes the master brain of strategy in fighting an Alien race called the Macrons.
The whole story feels a bit like a Red Alert computer game being described with a lot of fighting and upgrades of soldiers along the way. The story also has the typical boy meets girl theme. In some way it is predictable, yet quite enjoyable.
Mark Boyett does an excellent job in reading this story. He is a seasoned narrator that is a known voice in SciFi.
The book is recommended for those who likes a straightforward SciFi adventure type story.
The expectation with which you come to a book can often colour how you judge a book in the end. With 'The Enlightenment - And Why it Still Matters' I expected a piece of objective history writing. If you have the same expectation you might be disappointed as Prof Anthony Pagden who specialises in Political Science and History has very clear cut ideas about the Enlightenment.
Prof Pagden is a heavy-weight in his field and speaks with authority of what he knows... but it seems more as a Political Scientist than as a Historian. That said his facts seems to be impeccable. His tract gives a positive evaluation of the 'Enlightenment' by introducing the major thought leaders of its time as well as their thoughts. By doing so he successfully explains the phenomena that lead to the modern world. The book is often very informative. But it seems that Padgen purposefully ignores the dark side of the Enlightenment, maybe because of the negative way it impacted on religion in the West and because he shares this negative inclination towards it.
Pairing Pagden's book with the voice of Robert Blumenfeld (who also read 'Jurgen' under the "Neil Gaiman presents" label) might not have been the best match. I found Blumenfeld very difficult to follow. He has a rushing quality in his reading. Furthermore he is not consistent in his pronunciation of Latin, while his German and French pronunciation are excellent. Yet he is not one of my favourite interpretative readers.
It is a solid book, but biased... It is difficult at some times to follow. Yet Padgen has written a tract that do not only introduce you to the Enlightenment, it is sure to produce proper debate.
The following review is in Afrikaans followed by a short English summary.
Bittermin Afrikaanssprekendes het sonder die TV-reeks 'Wielie Wielie Walie' groot geword. Dit is goeie herinneringe en nostalgie wat my beweeg het om hierdie luisterboek te koop. Ek was ook nuuskierig om te sien of Louise Smit daarin kon slaag om Sarel Seemonster, Karel Kraai en Bennie Boekwurm van die kassie tussen die blaaie van 'n boek te laat lewe kry. Helaas dink ek nie dat sy dit reggekry het nie.
Eerder as om Wielie Walie vars te bedink, skryf sy maar net 'n televisie-episode vir 'n nuwe geslag kinders. Dit kos om opgevoer te word sou jy dit wou laat werk. Die inhoud is ongelukkig voorspelbaar en die storie is baie los en voel soos 'n losgetorringde bol gare.
Soos al NB Uitgewers se luisterboeke is die voorlesing van hoogstaande gehalte, maar dit kan nie die boek red nie. Jy moet 'n Wielie Walie bittereinder wees om hierdie luisterboek te waardeer.
[' Wielie Walie' was an successful Afrikaans TV program a an exceptionally long running children's series. Unfortunately the writer almost blindly duplicate the recipe she used to write the TV program itself. It's content is extremely shallow and disappointing. While the interpretative reading of the audiobook is top notch, the story doesn't do the voice of the interpretative reader justice. You must be a die-heard Wielie Walie fan to enjoy the book, otherwise you will probably be dead bored.]
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