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
A most enjoyable course of discovery about these amazing men and their teachings. The lectures are interesting, informative and unbiased. As a person of no religious persuasion I was interested in learning about the men who have shaped humanity without the secularism often associated with this subject. I was very pleasantly relieved to discover a lecturer with the ability to approach this course with an analytical mind without losing the "humanism" that any discussion of these four incredible human beings deserves. Brilliantly done!
"Audible at its best"
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.
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.
"Brilliant introduction to those 4 great teachers"
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.
"Informative and well organized"
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.
"Intelligent entertaining and unbiased"
Intelligent entertaining and unbiased. Highly recommend it. Probably the best audio book I've listened to date.
meaningful social history
really well organized, great speaker, so much interesting information
great speaking voice with the right amount of humorous interjection
"A great overview"
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!
"I love it"
Very organized and informative. I like the way it was narrated, very clear and with a very soothing voice.
"Worth sticking with"
This series seemed to get off to a slow start. I struggled with the lecturer's formality in words and in tone. But once he started talking about the Buddha, I started to appreciate his approach. By the end of the series, I was very happy to have listened.
"A good overview of 4 sages"
This book covers a massive subject matter which is presented from a secular perspective. This audiobook does a capable job at presenting the main themes and historical background for each of Confucius, Buddha, Jesus and Muhammad from the author's academic perspective - I am certain that theologians from any of the 4 religions will find many areas / points to disagree with! The book is controversial in places (when compared to mainstream theological understandings, e.g. the deity of Christ and Muhammad's use of war). It does offer an excellent opportunity to expand one's understanding of the 4 "sages" (the author's term) and to understand commonalities and differences between them. I truly enjoyed the audiobook, listened to its entirety, and learned a lot of things I didn't know. I took it for what it is - an academic, historical and sectarian view of the 4 "sages"; so, do not purchase this book if you are looking for a theology course.
All 4 "sages" were pretty interesting to learn about.
The spoken word reveals emotion and interest in a way a book can't portray.
The audiobook was well narrated.
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.
"A fantastic theological insight. "
I found this as a very interesting material that balanced theological, historical and religious studies complemented with some critical analysis.
state of excellence like his other works. Academic world should be proud of having people like him around.
Could not put this book down, the lectures are amazing and informative as well as balanced.
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