The Great Courses Greek Legacy - Classical Origins of the Modern World

Tutorial & e-learning. June 9, 2011 by sputnik.
The Great Courses Greek Legacy - Classical Origins of the Modern World

The Great Courses Greek Legacy - Classical Origins of the Modern World
The T-ac-ing Company | 1998 | Course No. 464 | 12 lectures | 30 minutes / lecture
AVI, XviD, 640x432, 29.97 fps | MP3@128 kbps, 2 Ch, 48.0 kHz | 2.1 Gb
Language: English | Genre: eLearning

Matthew Arnold, English poet and literary critic, observed a century ago when considering our Darwinian ancestor—that "hairy quadruped with pointed ears and a tail..."—there seems to have been something in him "that inclined him to Greek."
Arnold was suggesting that our basic assumptions about virtually all of the major building blocks of our culture (law, government, religion, science, medicine, drama, architecture, and more) derived ultimately from the ancient Greeks.
In this course of 12 lectures you explore the continuing influence of the classical Greek achievement on contemporary life. The point of the lectures is not the often tedious claim that there is nothing new under the sun. Rather, it is to underscore the remarkable continuity of the Greek perspective and ethos preserved over several millennia.
Your guide to the Greek achievement is Professor Daniel N. Robinson, a member of the Philosophy faculty at Oxford University, where he has lectured annually since 1991. He is also Distinguished Professor, Emeritus, at Georgetown University, on whose faculty he served for 30 years. He was formerly Adjunct Professor of Psychology at Columbia University.
In his introduction, Professor Robinson traces the rise, fall, and return of Greek influence on Western culture. He then explores the "Greek Legacy" in specific aspects of our lives.
Literature and the Arts
Literature. Professor Robinson explains the profound Greek contribution:
"The great literary themes that have dominated creative writing over the past two millennia were developed and bequeathed to us by a handful of ancient Greek poets and dramatists. There is scarcely a corner of the 'human dilemma' not first uncovered and then illuminated in the works of Greek antiquity.
"To achieve this abiding influence, the literary minds of that culture must have understood what is virtually universal in the human experience—that is, what transcends time and place and lends itself to ready translation across cultures. In longing to know themselves and the world, Homer and his successors marked out the contours and dimensions of the human condition, and they created a literature that was at once diagnostic and therapeutic, individuated and trans-cultural."
In art and architecture, the Greeks remain an ideal. At the end of his illustrious life, Leonardo da Vinci complained that in all of his efforts he had failed to achieve "that one thing necessary": the symmetria prisca ("pure symmetry") of the ancient Greek world of art and architecture. You'll study this pure symmetry, its source, its influence on art, architecture, and even politics.
Learning, Science, and Medicine
Learning. You examine with Professor Robinson the Greek ideals in scholarship and the relationship they saw between what you study and who you become.
Science and Medicine. You study the origins of the modern scientific method in the mathematical deductions of Pythagoras and the explosively productive inductive inquiries of Aristotle.
You explore the origins of modern clinical medicine in the work of Hippocrates of Cos and the Greek writings of Galen.
The State and the Self
Government. You see what drove the Greeks to create trial by jury—and how this system created a new emphasis on individual responsibility.
And you study statecraft. Professor Robinson offers an overview of Greek achievement as follows:
"Contemporary notions of freedom, self-government, virtuous leadership, and a decent and flourishing civic life have their origins in the Athens of Pericles, Plato, and Aristotle. These men shaped the problems and possibilities of governance into nothing less than a political science, the terms of which have been remarkably preserved from their original understandings in ancient Athens.
"Nonetheless, our rather romantic conception of ancient Athenian 'democracy' conceals the bitter resentments that obtained among political factions in Athens, as well as the principled reservations about democracy recorded by Plato and Aristotle."
The Individual. In these lectures, you study:
• the central importance of "character" in the Greek view of the individual—character which was evident early in life, which followed "types," and which greatly determined the course of one's behavior and life
• "invention" of an ethical system that was not derived from received religious authority
• the polis, the city, as the fundamental unit of human being.
The Perfectionist Ideal
The course examines the Greek ideal of perfection, a theme that runs through Greek art and architecture, drama and philosophy, and even to the Greek view of body and mind.
Though the perfectionist ideal remains summoning and central to us today, Professor Robinson examines its limitations. In striving for the ideal, the Greeks:
• were often hostile to what was merely practical; while their abstract undertakings in science were remarkably inventive, experimentation and technology were undeveloped
• showed a tendency to require life to justify its own existence—the elitism of the ideal can foster an instrumental view of life and the devaluation of lives that do not meet the standard
• often depreciated the common sense of ordinary citizens
• often depreciated the little pleasures of daily life that provide joy, if not transcendental meaning.
As Aristotle said in his Nichomachean Ethics: "The pleasure arising from thinking and learning will make us think and learn all the more." This course brings those joys in every lecture.
Course Lecture Titles:
Lecture 01: "Depth Psychology" From the Dance to the Drama
Lecture 02: The Aesthetics of Harmony
Lecture 03: The Invention of Scholarship
Lecture 04: Science and the Nature of Things
Lecture 05: The Hippocratics
Lecture 06: The Rule of Law
Lecture 07: Statecraft
Lecture 08: Ancient Greek Religion
Lecture 09: Character and Personality
Lecture 10: The Moral Point of View
Lecture 11: The City and the Civic Life
Lecture 12: Perfectionism and the Greek Ideal

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