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Practical Philosophy: The Greco-Roman Moralists (The Great Courses) Audio CD – 2002
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Remember everything we are today in the West we owe it to the Ancients. Even Christianity's thought since Origen, Augustine and Tomas of Aquinas is shaped in the basic ideas of the Ancients, specially Plato and Aristotles.
You will notice a deep emphasis on this course in harvesting those qualities long forgotten by modern societies. Those great qualities taught by our grand parents (modesty, sincerity, friendship). Is there a more difficult stuff on this life that overcome our bad emotions/feelings/trends and become better persons for our family and our society, specially in a society modeled and shaped only in appraisal of greed, covetousness and rivalry??
Well. This course is a training and a MUST on what is perhaps the most important issues in our lives, an issue that occupies the top headline of all mayor religions,
Professor Luke T. Johnson as always, is Superb!!!
These philosophers were practical in that they were concerned with how people could live worthwhile lives in the midst of a complex, and in some ways alienating, imperial world. As I understand it, their general solution was to pursue personal growth leading to development of deeply ingrained virtuous character and resulting habitually virtuous action (in a social context), with disciplined rationality and emulation of examplary role models as key resources to aid the personal development process.
Johnson clearly knows the material backwards and forwards as a scholar, and I sense that he has a deep personal understanding of the implications of the material from having found it very meaningful in his own life. This shows in the excellent passion and clarity of his lectures.
Needless to say, I highly recommend the course to pretty much everyone, especially those with interests in personal development, philosophy, and/or ancient Greco-Roman history. Some prior background in the latter two areas would be helpful, but I don't think it's absolutely mandatory.
Finally, I think a strong case can be made that our best contemporary "self-help" thinkers convey the same general message as the Greco-Roman moralists Johnson covers, and I think many of them do it just as well. I recognize that self-help literature is generally regarded as low-brow, but I think the best of it is excellent. Moreover, contemporary self-help thinkers tend to be disregarded for many of the same reasons that the Greco-Roman moralists were, and of course Johnson has made a strong case such disregard is a mistake. As a gateway to the best of self-help literature, spanning from ancient to contemporary times, I recommend the "50 Classics" series of books by Tom Butler-Bowdon.