Exploring the Roots of Religion : The Great Courses: Ancient History

  • by The Great Courses, John R. Hale
  • Narrated by Professor John R. Hale
  • Series: The Great Courses: Ancient History
  • 18 hrs and 20 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

What impulse drove ancient cultures to create sites like Stonehenge, Machu Picchu, and the pyramids at Giza? Why are we so transfixed by their presence today? And what do they reveal about our ancestors-and humanity?
The dynamic force of religious belief is responsible for some of the world's most popular and ancient locales.With these 36 riveting lectures, you can dig through the earth and learn how sacred buildings, complexes, tomb structures, artwork, and more have provided us with unparalleled knowledge about early spiritual experiences around the world. Using the tools and knowledge of their field, archaeologists can now determine the nature of a sacrificial ritual, compare the visible attributes of ancient deities, and map out the orientation of a temple or tomb.
Professor Hale gives you a comprehensive look at specific religious archaeological sites around the world-inside caves and crypts, through vast deserts and ancient cities, from Polynesia to Mexico to the American Midwest.
Studying these breathtaking sites such as Lascaux Cave, Machu Picchu, and Easter Island, you learn the points of interest that attract the attention of archaeologists and scholars, survey the principal features unearthed during the site's excavation, discover what evidence at the site reveals about the evolution of religion, and more.
By the final lap of your international journey, you'll have developed a new vision of religion and its crucial role in ancient history. You'll become more attuned to spirituality's universal elements and its unique characteristics. And you'll realize just how much credit religion deserves for remarkable sites that continue to captivate us.


See More Like This

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


This course of lectures should have been called An Archaeology of Religioun. It is a good review of archaeological discoveries on the last couple of centuries, which is accompanied by a brief overview of religions and creeds ftom all over the world. In that respect the course deserves every commendation. To claim that the roots of the religions have been explored the author has no right.
Read full review

- Michael "Great fan of dogs and audio boooks!"

Archaeology first hand - one of the best courses

Would you listen to Exploring the Roots of Religion again? Why?

I may listen to the course again to give me starting points for more in depth explorations of archaeological sites, religious cults and ideas that can be found all over the world through all times.

What about Professor John R. Hale’s performance did you like?

Mr. Hale has "been there, done that".
He breathes, he lives and he loves what he is talking about. At times that may actually distract him from the topic he thought he planned to stick to (and then, sometimes, he remembers that he had to finish a sentence somewhere), but it has exactly been this personal, engaged, believable approach to both archaeology and "roots of religion" that, to me, make this course one of the best purchases I made on Audible - along with "how to listen to and understand great music", which puts marks on exactly the same checking points.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Oh, please, if it just was possible to have Douglas Adams write and perform the commentary, John Hale be the presenter of the actual sites and Richard O'Brien write the incidental music score - I would actually go to a cinema again, for the first time in over 10 years!
Maybe get Honess to do the editing and G. Fisher for cinematography (look up the first "Highlander" if those names don't mean nothing to you) ...

Tag line? What about "If world ended tomorrow, you'd still have to watch this"?

Any additional comments?

My resume may sound a bit over-excited, so in order to put it back into its place, let me admit that I had to take a break (the fourth) from Daniel Robinson's "The Great Ideas of Philosophy" with its fundamental Christian bias, his unbearable preaching performance and drowsy narration. This shocking change of experience may explain, to some degree, why I fell in love with Mr. Hale (in a way, you get the picture).
Sure, being the German nit-pick that I am: Mr. Hale could have opened Webster's encyclopedia and have a look what the colleagues have to say about "Sarsen stones" (they seem to be quite sure that the word "Sarsen" is a derivative of "Sarazens" (saracen) and basically means "pagan". There are a few examples like this where one might get the impression that "listening to other discipline's theories" at times might even help the most experienced archaeologist ... But, really, since I am now getting back to Mr. Robinson's "everything that is not Christian is just stupid and a waste" theories, I did not even notice those hickups.

Read full review

- Marc

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-08-2013
  • Publisher: The Great Courses