The Terror of History: Mystics, Heretics, and Witches in the Western Tradition Audiobook | The Great Courses | Audible.com
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The Terror of History: Mystics, Heretics, and Witches in the Western Tradition | [The Great Courses]

The Terror of History: Mystics, Heretics, and Witches in the Western Tradition

Western civilization is closely associated with reason and science, and with exceptional accomplishments in art, architecture, music, and literature.Yet it has also been characterized by widespread belief in the supernatural and the irrational - with mystics who have visions of the divine and entire movements of people who wait in fervent anticipation of the apocalypse.

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Publisher's Summary

Western civilization is closely associated with reason and science, and with exceptional accomplishments in art, architecture, music, and literature.Yet it has also been characterized by widespread belief in the supernatural and the irrational - with mystics who have visions of the divine and entire movements of people who wait in fervent anticipation of the apocalypse.

Moreover, Western culture has also been the setting for repeated acts of barbaric reaction to those beliefs, including persecutions of certain groups, such as Jews, or of people accused as heretics and witches.

This series of 24 intriguing lectures explores the concept of what has been called the "terror of history," a deeply held ancient belief that human beings live constantly on the edge of doom- a doom against which we must protect ourselves, sometimes by scapegoating an "other" whom we blame for this catastrophic plight.

The lectures explore this belief through a study of mysticism, heresy, apocalyptic movements, and the witch-hunting craze that bloomed in Europe from 1000 to 1700. You'll examine sources you may be unfamiliar with, learn to think in new ways, and gain a fresh perspective on how social, economic, political, and religious climates - especially during times of change and stress - exert tremendous influence on the prevalence of irrational attitudes and persecutions.

Disclaimer: Please note that this recording may include references to supplemental texts or print references that are not essential to the program and not supplied with your purchase.

©2002 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2002 The Great Courses

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  •  
    Pamela Prospect, TN, United States 07-13-13
    Pamela Prospect, TN, United States 07-13-13 Member Since 2011

    I am an amateur ethno- botanist, an Apple evangelist and an avid consumer of audio books. Audio- books have given more choices of what to have in my head while I am doing mindless tasks. Audible has become more important now than when I first joined since I have limited shelf space in our new apartment.

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    "Great Courses Are wonderful"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This is not the first course that I have taken from Great Courses. The company provides almost effortless learning in many fields.
    This course is one that I will recommend because the content points to history's treatment of people who dare to think differently than society's norm.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The professor likes his materials and this came through his treatment of bias through history.


    What does Professor Teofilo F. Ruiz bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    A wonderful voice and teaching style.


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

    No.This is not your usual audiobook.


    Any additional comments?

    This course is buffet of viewpoints.Easy to follow without any prior knowledge of the subject, the course gives you a chance to sit in on meaty classes to which you might not otherwise get exposed.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christina United States 10-07-13
    Christina United States 10-07-13 Member Since 2010

    Say something about yourself!

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    "For those who wonder why"

    I picked up this lecture because of curiosity over witch burnings and religious inquisitions. How did people enact such cruel tortures upon others and what does that say about the human species?

    Professor Teo does an amazing job recreating an image of life in the Middle Ages to explain the context of the events in history. I was fascinated by the rich detail of the time period and of his description of people's lives, culture, fears and beliefs.

    In addition, Professor Teo is such an interesting, expressive speaker, that it was easy to get immersed in his lectures. I encourage history fans and anyone who has a curiosity about the time period to take a listen.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth Mechanicsburg, PA, United States 08-17-13
    Elizabeth Mechanicsburg, PA, United States 08-17-13 Member Since 2005
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    "Good but not what I expected"

    This was the first of the Great Courses that I've listened too and I've started a second so overall I like the addition of the series to Audible. Having said that, this was a little disappointing. The professor obviously knows his stuff and was able relate the concepts to current life as much as possible. What was disappointing was all the context he provided. I absolutely agree that you need to understand the political, economic and cultural surroundings to properly place mystics, heretics and witches. Unfortunately, I often felt he spent more time on the context then the actual subject. I learned a great deal about the power of the religion-government partnership, about how the middle class developed and even the violence of the times. While interesting it wasn't what I expected.

    My three-star rating is not about the quality of the lectures themselves but more about how the content did not fit the title as I expected. Perhaps that was my misunderstanding and others will feel the title matches perfectly.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joshua ASBURY, NJ, United States 11-05-13
    Joshua ASBURY, NJ, United States 11-05-13 Member Since 2011

    Choreographer, Director, Actor, Dancer, Educator. And lover of audio books! They are theatre for the mind!

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    "Listener Beware"

    These lectures are excellent source of knowledge about the nature religion and how religion can become hysteria. However, while Professor Ruiz is wonderfully knowledgeable he can at times be difficult to understand because of his accent. It took me a little bit time to get used to his pronunciation and speech pattern. But once I was accustom it was smooth sailing.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
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