Foundations of Western Civilization - Thomas F.X. Noble

I have been listening to this lecture series on CD in the car for the past year or so, as I come across them at the library. It is a 48 lecture series from the Teaching Company divided into 4 bundles of 6 CD's each. The lecturer is Thomas Noble, a professor from Notre Dame. He covers 4,600 years of the history of 'the west' from the Sumerians all the way to the age of European exploration. And he does so in a very engaging way. He has a very good technique of zooming in and out from important individuals and mundane details of life, all the way out to the grand trajectories of history. A mind boggling mastery of the material is evident, and I feel like he could teach a 480 lecture series on this topic and still have plenty left to talk about. Still, he knows just what details to pull out and which to gloss over.

The biggest impression this series has left me with is that there is nothing new under the sun. Even as we've gone from primitive agrarian days with tribal cultures, all the way through empire and monarchy to present day democracy and technology, people have behaved in very consistent ways. So many of the sequences of history have a spooky familiar feeling to them, echoing circumstances today.

I really wish I could hear a version of this lecture series created 400 years from now, focusing on the current time period.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Me too!