Great Courses!

Why just read when you can listen?

The Great Courses

So you want to spend some time immersed in the classics, but you also need advice on finding the right wine for your upcoming dinner party. No problem! Look no further the the latest offerings from the Great Courses, a catalog of college-style lectures. Don’t have time to crack open a book? That’s also not a problem, because the courses, according to the web site, are available in “DVD, audio CD, and other formats.”

I received this organization’s catalog in the mail yesterday, and it is chock full of lecture courses by actual university professors. From the History of European Art to The American Civil War, the courses cover all of the major disciplines. And yes, there is a course on selecting a wine for dinner.

Many years ago, I bought such a course from a series offered by Barnes & Noble. “What Would Socrates Do? History of Moral Thoughts and Ethics” was the title, recorded by Professor Peter Kreeft. I had read some of Kreeft’s books years ago, and one of my favorite writings from his pen is Between Heaven and Hell, a mock philosophical discussion between President John F. Kennedy, Brave New World author Aldus Huxley, and noted Lion, Witch, and Wardrobe expert C. S. Lewis, all of whom died on the same day.

I enjoy Kreeft’s fresh writing, and the lectures were just as upbeat. But I just couldn’t get into the content. It was a college-level course, but I was listening to each lecture as I took my morning walk around the Well-Read Neighborhood. I discovered that walks are not conducive to advanced learning. To grow through such a lecture, you need to take notes, ponder the ideas, wrestle with the material. In short, you need to go through a lot more pain than you get from a set of Nikes with poor arch support.

If you are looking to advance in your studies, and you have a few dozen hours to make available for lectures, take a browse through the Great Courses catalog at


  1. I can personally vouch for the Great Courses. I have enjoyed the courses that accompany the Iliad and the Odyssey, and I am currently half-way through the Aeneid. Those I listened to in audio. In video I am currently enjoying How to Look At and Understand Great Art. The half hour lectures go great with morning coffee.


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