We have a few of his classes, but looking at one today on “Lives of Great Christians” I noticed the following in the course description, and it gave me pause to consider the professor’s position:
“The Crusades: Efforts to reclaim the Holy Land from the Muslims often included persecuting the Jews at home.”
I am guessing that the Course Descriptions are written by a company editor and not by the professors themselves.
I have Professor Cook’s course ‘The Cathedral’ from The Great Courses; I’ve only watched 3 / 24 half hour episodes.
The only comment that struck me awry was he stated something to the effect that a non-religious person could appreciate a Cathedral in the same way as a practicing Christian but I realize these courses are marketed to a broad audience of people with different backgrounds.
Besides that one comment, I think the course is very good; Professor Cook is an excellent lecturer and one can tell he has a lot of enthusiasm for his subject matter.
In the course, Cook mentions that he is Catholic, and the lectures include colored video footage and photographs of the exteriors of the great Cathedrals and Basilicas of Europe.
The Cathedral and Basilica interiors, if shown, so far are explained with either colored photographs or computerized digital models.
Besides seeing the beautiful Cathedral and Basilica exteriors and interiors, the course is very informative and I’ve learned some new interesting facts and history about them.
Professor Cook also stated he disagreed with History Channel TV shows and History Channel / popular Historians and writers who portray the ‘Dark Ages’ (the period in history from the Fall of Rome to the Reign of Emperor Charlemagne) as an epoch that lacks any artistic or culturally significant contributions to the history of mankind.
Professor Cook’s course lectures are not that entertaining compared to the programs on Cable’s History but they are a lot better than any of the History or H2 programs that have Christianity or religion as their topic and Professor Cook treats Christianity with respect.
I agree that the other Great Courses not featuring Professor Cook with Christianity or Christian themes as their subject matter look very similar to something the Jesus Seminar would produce.
The best time to buy the Great Courses is near the end of December when they have their big sale; I purchased ‘The Cathedral’ and another Great Course for $40 each with Free Shipping and this past December which was $30.00 off the usual $70.00 sales price offered throughout the year.