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RE: [mythsoc] Lewis lectures available

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  • Kathleen Lamantia
    I have truly enjoyed several of the series I have purchased from The Teaching Company. The series on Lewis by Prof. Markos is the only one I have ever
    Message 1 of 3 , Dec 17, 2010
      I have truly enjoyed several of the series I have purchased from The Teaching Company.  The series on Lewis by Prof. Markos is the only one I have ever returned to them.

      Below is the letter I sent when I asked for my money back - which they cheerfully and promptly refunded to me.

      January 8, 2004

      The Teaching Company
      Suite 100
      4151 Lafayette Center Drive
      Chantilly, VA 20151-1232

      RE: Course 297, C. S. Lewis

      Dear Sir or Madam:

      Your excellent guarantee states that your customers may return any course, at any time for any reason.

      Accepting that generous offer, I return, herewith, Prof. Markos’ course on C. S. Lewis.  I only spent $14.95 for this, plus shipping, so it is not the refund that motivates me.  I am sending it back because I was deeply disappointed in it.

      It struck me as being pitched to  very intelligent juniors in high school, or, at most, to college freshmen.  The content was simplistic to a fault. I listened to every lecture and never learned a single thing that I did not already know.

      Obviously, Prof Markos has a profound love for C. S. Lewis, as do I.  I had anticipated a college-level discussion and explication.  While I realize that covering Lewis’ entire life and canon in 6 hours will necessarily entail brevity, it does not mean it should entail shallow, simplistic meanderings.

      A few instances of specific complaint, to give you a flavor of what I mean:

      1) In one of the lectures, Prof. Markos defines patriarchy.  That borders on insult, and is what causes me to speculate that he is used to teaching 18-year-olds.  Who, buying your courses, would not know what patriarchy is?  Any reasonably well-read 18-year-old would know.

      2)  His entire discussion of the Narnian Chronicles is composed of plot summaries!  This is a tremendous waste of good lecture time!  I want  some analysis, some synthesis, some scintillating discussion.  Not plot summaries, for God’s sake!

      In fact, generally speaking, much of this course was devoted to telling what goes on in the books.  Many of us are sadly familiar with the dreaded professor who wastes class time by recounting what you’ve just read.  That’s exactly what the Teaching Company should try to avoid. 

      Anyone who takes the time and spends the money to buy your courses has already read, or is  in the process of reading, the course material.  Of course one needs to discuss plot points, but constantly retelling the stories is not the way to do that.

      I am still interested in a good course about Lewis.  Perhaps you could try again with a different professor.  Or, perhaps Prof. Markos could try again.  If he pitched his course to, say, graduate students, he might produce something with more depth.

      I would like to append, in the interests of kindness, that I developed an affection for Prof. Markos.  He seems like a very nice fellow and his enthusiasm for his subject is certainly a joy.  That still doesn’t mean he gave a good course.


      Kathleen F. Lamantia

      To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
      From: WendellWag@...
      Date: Fri, 17 Dec 2010 22:55:07 -0500
      Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Lewis lectures available


      I really wasn't taken much with this series.  I've listened to maybe 60 or 70 of the various lecture series put out by this company over the past eleven and a half years, and these just aren't very good in comparison to most of their lecture series on various other subjects.  Markos isn't that much of an expert on Lewis and these lectures aren't that informative or interesting.  I wish The Teaching Company had let Joe Christopher or Diana Glyer or somebody else do this series.
      Wendell Wagner
      In a message dated 12/17/2010 3:29:02 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, sacnoth@... writes:

      I don't know if folks will be interested or not, but The Teaching Company (the folks who do the Great Courses series) is having one of its periodical sales, and one of the items on sale is Professor Louis Markos' THE LIFE AND WRITINGS OF C. S. LEWIS, a twelve-part series (six hours), on sale now on audio cd for $14.95. I wasn't much taken with these, but others who are more enthusiastic for Lewis's apologetics & Narnia than I am might enjoy them. And of course Lewis completists will want it. The sale runs through Dec. 28th.

         By the way, when at the Wade Center month before last I picked up what, from my dipping into it so far, looks like a much more interesting series: THE C. S. LEWIS STUDY PROGRAM: MERE CHRISTIANITY, a set of four dvds featuring Wade director Chris Mitchell explicating Lewis's book. It's put out by The C. S. Lewis Institute and incl udes a little study guide as well.

      --John R.

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