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.
Speaking from multilevel personal experience with these teachings, Professor Muesse leads you in an inquiry with a dynamic double thrust.
First, you'll get the chance to reflect in depth on the most essential values of spirituality and the art of living, seen from four archetypal perspectives. Second, you'll delve into the historical contexts and individual lives of the four sages, and how the religious and philosophical traditions we associate with them came into being. The lectures serve as a unique window on the origins of these traditions, through their focus on the teachings, actions, and historical roles of the sages who inspired them. In uncovering the original wisdom and practices of each sage, you'll grapple with key questions. How did each man understand the nature of the universe? How did each envision the human self? What did they each see as the path to true self-realization? In words reflecting profound and compassionate insight, these lectures bring the teachings vividly alive as they speak to their essential purpose and as they shed light on the choices we all face, moment by moment, in living deliberately and savoring life to the fullest.
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
In the top five. The course was perfect for me. I subscribe to Audible mainly for the non-fiction. The new Great Courses section is now my favorite.I fell short of an AA degree after the Army because I had to return to work. With the Great Courses option, I can now get up to speed on what I am most interested in, and be in a much better place when I return to school. This course - Confucius, Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammad was an excellent way to begin Great Courses. It was Taught and Narrated so well. There were very few - if any - areas that I wanted to speed threw. In-fact I hit my 30 sec. back button hundreds of times. The subject matter was perfect. It was taught in such a way that I can return to this course over and over, without the dread. We are lucky and blessed to now live in a time that a common laborer can continue to labor at his or her job, yet be able to study these Great Courses at the same time,satisfying our minds while at the same time satisfying our work ethic.I will now keep my eye on any and all of Professor Mark W. Muesse's courses.
Say something about yourself!
This book's content is really interesting and the author's narration is great. It's a perfect introduction to comparative religion. I enjoyed it a lot and would recommend it to my friends. It might be better to choose another title if you are already advanced in the study of those historical figures though.
Prof Muesse placed the ideas of the 4 in good context. He relayed a lot of historical information.
A history book. Can not think of a good example right now.
I thought he description of the life and works of Confucius was the most in depth and interesting.
To much info for that
One of my favorite "Great Courses" books.
Intelligent entertaining and unbiased. Highly recommend it. Probably the best audio book I've listened to date.
Lover of sci-fi, fantasy, horror, mystery, and westerns in all media, including old-time radio dramatizations.
This is my second series of lectures by Professor Mark W. Muesse. Both have been a pleasure to hear. I would classify this series as freshman- or introductory-level. It probably would not benefit any but the most casual religious scholar.
I feel that I came away with a good basic understanding of the historical facts, as they can be determined, and the teachings of these four individuals. Great care was taken to provide historical and cultural context for each. The work avoids any judgement about the validity of any religious doctrine.
When we experience deeds performed in the name of a doctrine, the obvious question is whether or not the actions reflect a rational interpretation of the originator's intention or are simply extremist excuses for the actions. An impartial scholar would be the ideal individual to examine this question; however, Professor Muesse makes no attempts in this area. Perhaps this issue was just not the focus of the series, but since the atrocities committed in the name of various religions are a part of their history, he loses one star for political correctness.
If you want to have a comparative overview of the religions- or more: the sages that mark their beginnings - this is a very accessable cource. Also for non natives in English, like me.
It is praisworthy how Mark Muesse tries to keep the scientific objectivity. He seeks for the wisdom in the teachings of all four sages. And as you might expect, there's a lot of wisdom out there!
Disclaimer: I am a Christian Pastor (although my current role is predominantly researching, studying, writing and personal coaching). Also, so far I have only made it to Chapter 20. (I've completed the sections on Confucius and Buddha and just completed my 2nd chapter on Jesus.
Overall, I have enjoyed the audio book thus far, up until chapter 19 anyways. As someone unfamiliar with Confucius, and not nearly as educated on Buddha's teachings as I am in the Christian faith it was interesting to learn about their lives, their historical and cultural backgrounds, and their beliefs and ideas. The professor fits my personal style well, carefully articulating his words and with a clearly well-thought out and structured learning plan. He is not very exciting and can come off monotone at times, but I am a bit of a scholar so I don't mind learning from this approach. I thought the way he structured the program and has moved through the topics to be organized and very easy to follow.
I am dedicated to the pursuit of both knowledge and Truth and love learning about different religions, philosophies, and the various arguments and apologetics for and against different religious disciplines. I honestly believe that we should all continuously pursue the Truth, even if it "appears" like we are questioning our faith or if it means changing our minds about past beliefs. I state that so the title "Pastor" does not lead you to think that I would ever just blindly defend my faith. I've spent the past 4.5 hours analyzing the facts and data available, initially to question my own assertion, and now to share with others. Like I said previously, I was enjoying the audiobook until Chapter 19, where he lost all his credibility with me. Assuming we would likely not agree on everything with me, I came in open-minded but after giving it much thought I really don't believe he is presenting just the facts in an unbiased way. His vocal pitch has even changed in this chapter indicating his belief that it's just "made up". What bothers me the most though is that his initial argument is not arguably logical to me. If it were I would just write this one small piece off as something I'm not able to argue for and then move on. But later, he recalls back his initial argument that he arrived at by jumping to conclusions (that was supposedly rock-solid to him) and uses that to infer the follow-up assertion that these stories were likely fabricated by the authors. I'm sorry, that's a bold statement that you need good proof of if you're going to present a "scholarly, unbiased, rational" lecture on.
In Chapter 19, while interpreting he presents an argument that both Matthew and Luke cannot both be correct since they do not both say the same things. Even though he states that he fully understands the fact that they're writing to different audiences he can't fathom that they would leave these "irreconcilable differences". Differences that I could personally give you a half dozen reasons why the authors might choose to do this very thing. He ascertains that the stories were embellished and that even though both gospels record that Joseph and Mary live in Nazareth and travel to Bethlehem that they "probably just lived in Bethlehem" because "most scholars think that's probably what happened". He doesn't give any names of these scholars, give any reason for why this is, or any other substantial argument other than the fact that since King Herod ordered a killing of everyone under 2 years old (because the wise men said that's what the stars told them) that "we can infer that it happened at least 2 years ago and thus Jesus is 2 and thus they probably lived there). So rather than take the actual word of the 2 authors of the Gospel, we're going to take the word of the people in the story written by those 2 authors and then make our own assumptions based on that!? Perhaps Herod kills everyone under 2 years old to make sure that he gets the child! Why would he say 2 years or younger when it happened two years ago? The child might look old for his age! The star may have been from John the Baptist only 6 months older than Jesus who lives right near Bethlehem. Also it is very likely they were on their way to Mary's cousin's house Elizabeth when her water broke. Nazareth is after all over 60 miles from Jerusalem (4 miles from Bethlehem) where they would've wanted to stay for at least 8 days anyways to bring baby Jesus to Jerusalem for the ceremonial rights that all Jewish babies did. There is so much more I could say and/or prove that you could look up and see for yourself but I will write up a more thorough formal argument later for any and everything he ends up saying that I like is not well-researched enough and is misleading to people.
I will continue to listen to the rest of the audio book objectively and not discount any of his future ideas based on the merit of these ones. I will also update my review after listening to the rest of the book. The part that now worries me is that I now doubt his credibility on the subject matter. On Jesus' life I have probably a thousand or more hours of studying within the past 3 years. However, I know very little about the other sages in this book. I would have taken what I have already learned as nearly fact but now I'm not sure if I should trust what he has taught me about them! That worries me and it should you too. Approach this one cautiously, as always discern everything, and continue to read and learn. Never take just a few opinions and then close your mind to new ideas and arguments. God bless,
Brian S. Holmes
Yes, I like the format, and I think each individual author should be judged according to their own merits.
In at least a few instances, he should have more thoroughly researched and analyzed the topic before deciding to make such bold assertions against commonly-accepted beliefs.
Disappointed at the moment
Really nice introduction to the history of religion except last few chapters - comparison of all teaches.
Professor Muesse is a knowledgeable, insightful, and humble teacher. The history and interpretations accord with other religious scholars I've read or studied under. But his philosophy supersedes theirs in pluralism and depth of spiritual sincerity. A very worthwhile engagement for any sincere seeker or philosopher of religion.
I am really glad I bought this. I can not put it down so to speak. I am almost at the end but just thought I would highly recommend this book to anyone whose interests fall in these areas.
Could not put this book down, the lectures are amazing and informative as well as balanced.
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