Well, I suppose I need to add a trip to Mexico to my bucket list now in order to kick around in some ancient ruins.
This series of 48 lectures was a faWell, I suppose I need to add a trip to Mexico to my bucket list now in order to kick around in some ancient ruins.
This series of 48 lectures was a fascinating look at the history of MesoAmerica, beginning with the Olmec civilization and moving through modern day Mexico. For someone like myself who knew only scant bits (and those the sensational bits) about the Aztec, Toltecs, and Maya, this was an eye-opening series. This is definitely one to listen to again sometime, as it was so packed with information one listening couldn't possibly cement all the info in my head.
The professor is exceptional. He is excited about his material and vastly knowledgeable. The only other Great Courses I've listened to that I feel were as engaging as this one are John Hale's series on Greco-Roman archaeology and Bob Brier's series on Ancient Egypt.
Dr. Barnhart does have his quirks. He has very strong feelings about the preservation of Mesoamerican culture to the extent that he sometimes sounds very sad that the Aztecs aren't still cutting out the hearts of 10,000 people per year; he even seems baffled as to why the Christians who contacted the Aztecs couldn't accept that daily human sacrifice and ritual cannibalism were a noble and deeply ingrained part of their native culture. So yeah, that's a little weird.
Overall, if you've never dipped your toe into the rich history of this part of the world, you should really give this course a try....more
The Galileo Connection is an excellent book to begin an exploration of the relationship between science and Christian theology. The first half of theThe Galileo Connection is an excellent book to begin an exploration of the relationship between science and Christian theology. The first half of the book explores the history of the development of modern science, paying close attention to the relationship between scientists and the Church. four scientists are particularly chosen to represent this development: Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, and Newton. The author corrects many myths and false interpretations of the interactions between the Church and science at this time period, pointing out where the Church has been misrepresented as well as where he believes the Church went wrong in its evaluation of the new astronomy. I would recommend the first half of this book to anyone with any interest in the subject.
The second half of the book focuses on Biblical interpretation, the nature of science, and how the two relate to one another. This half of the book is mostly good as well. There is an excellent chapter on Biblical interpretation, and a very good chapter defining science, scientific laws, and the nature of scientific knowledge. Hummel's definitions and distinctions are clear and helpful. When he actually gets down to talking about how Christians ought to interpret Genesis 1 in light of scientific discoveries he slips a bit. I appreciate the focus on not tying scriptural interpretation to whatever scientific theory is popular at the time. However, in terms of explaining and evaluating the differing positions on Genesis 1 Hummel leaves a lot to be desired. There are several positions that didn't get a mention at all, and a tendency to misrepresent the literal six-day creation position. Vern Poythress does a much better job of introducing and discussing those positions in his book Redeeming Science, even though he comes to basically the same conclusion as Hummel.
Overall, a helpful and interesting book for anyone interested in issues regarding science and theology....more
How many mythologies do you know that have two foundational gods who are soccer playing boys who change their older brothHow awesome is the Popul Vuh?
How many mythologies do you know that have two foundational gods who are soccer playing boys who change their older brothers into monkeys? Who challenge the Lords of the Underworld to a ball game for their lives? Who become traveling stage magicians in order to trick those dark gods into having their hearts cut out, thus ending their reign once and for all?