On How iTunes May Be Used for Purposes Greater than Playing Your Illegally Downloaded MP3s

Earlier this week, I became aware of iTunes U while browsing the webpage of Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. Through this remarkable feature, institutions of higher learning can make class lectures and other educational content available in podcast format from the iTunes Store. While much of the content is restricted to the students, faculty and staff of each individual institution, several of the schools using iTunes U have also made some excellent resources (including full courses!) available for download at no charge. Here are some highlights:

  • Concordia Seminary in St. Louis offers both Elementary Hebrew and Readings in Hebrew with Andrew Bartelt, as well as Elementary Greek with James Voelz. Also featured is a popular introduction to The Lutheran Confessions by Charles Arand and Robert Kolb.
  • Reformed Theological Seminary features the following courses: Genesis through Joshua with Richard Pratt, Judges through Poets with John Currid, Isaiah through Malachi with Richard Belcher, Gospels and Acts and Pauline Epistles with Knox Chamblin, and Hebrews through Revelation with Simon Kistemaker. This amounts to their entire Biblical core for master’s degrees. Also offered are courses on Christian Apologetics and the History of Philosophy and Christian Thought, taught by the great John McElphatrick Frame, and on the History and Theology of the Puritans, taught by J. I. Packeramong many others.
  • Stanford University offers courses such as The Historical Jesus with Thomas Sheehan and Virgil’s Aeneid with the divine Susanna Braund, as well as some notable lectures (such as Bart Ehrman on Misquoting Jesus) and several recorded broadcasts of the deligthful program Entitled Opinions, featuring such distinguished guests as Richard Rorty, René Girard, Michel Serres, the exquisite Susanna Braund (again!), and Andrea Nightingale.
  • UC Berkeley features a short course on Heidegger and a semester-long one on Existentialism in Literature and Film, both taught by Hubert Dreyfus. [UPDATE: The course on Heidegger is not short, as I had thought; rather, it is being recorded this semester, and so podcasts become available as the course progresses! Check out also the course on The Ancient Mediterranean World taught by Isabelle Pafford, which is also being recorded this semester.]

As usual, Harvard doesn’t get it, and they only offer two-track samplings of such courses as Shaye Cohen’s A Thematic Introduction to the Hebrew Bible. Yale is only slightly better, with no full courses offered, but some very interesting lectures available (such as Harold Bloom’s The Art of Reading a Poem). Princeton, of course, is not on iTunes U at all, but I doubt anybody is particularly surprised by that. Gee, no wonder Stanford is taking over!

In any case, the iTunes U course offerings from RTS and Concordia are only the more recent in a series of free online resources for theological education that have appeared over the last several years. Notable among these are:

  • Biblical Training, which in its Leadership track offers Biblical Greek with Bill Mounce, several Old and New Testament courses (survey, history, theology) taught by Craig Blomberg, Frank Thielman, Robert Stein, Paul House and Douglas Stuart, and Church History I & II with Gerald Bray, among many other courses.
  • Covenant Worldwide, a ministry of Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis. This features a selection of seminary courses in .mp3 format, complete with study guides and lecture transcripts. Courses are available in each of the classical theological fields (biblical, historical, systematic and practical), and include many of the seminary’s core requirements for master’s degrees.

So very many resources, and so little time!

One response to “On How iTunes May Be Used for Purposes Greater than Playing Your Illegally Downloaded MP3s

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