The Terror of History: Mystics, Heretics, and Witches in the Western Tradition

  • by The Great Courses
  • Narrated by Professor Teofilo F. Ruiz
  • 12 hrs and 24 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

Western civilization is closely associated with reason and science, and with exceptional accomplishments in art, architecture, music, and literature.Yet it has also been characterized by widespread belief in the supernatural and the irrational - with mystics who have visions of the divine and entire movements of people who wait in fervent anticipation of the apocalypse.
Moreover, Western culture has also been the setting for repeated acts of barbaric reaction to those beliefs, including persecutions of certain groups, such as Jews, or of people accused as heretics and witches.
This series of 24 intriguing lectures explores the concept of what has been called the "terror of history," a deeply held ancient belief that human beings live constantly on the edge of doom- a doom against which we must protect ourselves, sometimes by scapegoating an "other" whom we blame for this catastrophic plight.
The lectures explore this belief through a study of mysticism, heresy, apocalyptic movements, and the witch-hunting craze that bloomed in Europe from 1000 to 1700. You'll examine sources you may be unfamiliar with, learn to think in new ways, and gain a fresh perspective on how social, economic, political, and religious climates - especially during times of change and stress - exert tremendous influence on the prevalence of irrational attitudes and persecutions.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

At best, okay.

You get this book for an interesting sensational story and you barely get it. A lot on mystiques, this could had been summarised in one lecture.
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- mr

Pompous and empty

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

The topic is interesting but the professor killed it. There is no salvaging this one. To be fair, I stopped listening after the Mysticism section so maybe it gets better, but I couldn't go on anymore.


Would you ever listen to anything by The Great Courses again?

Maybe, the course titles are always intriguing but but so far I've heard only two duds. It seems like they deliver pretty dumbed-down stuff, based on what I've listened to so far.


Would you be willing to try another one of Professor Teofilo F. Ruiz’s performances?

No way


If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Terror of History: Mystics, Heretics, and Witches in the Western Tradition?

Too much blather and empty new-agey stuff. I wanted more specifics, history and real info.


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- Frank

Book Details

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