Tuesday, September 27, 2011

December Course

This December, due to popular demand, I will be repeating the September online course I am wrapping up this week at CFI's online campus, teaching once again their one-month intro course The Real Origins of Christianity. Anyone can attend and receive a certificate of completion (though only students at UB receive college credit). It is all online and all flextime (you can work at any time of day or week). We received so many registration requests for the September course that we exceeded the allowed limit, and to accommodate those who couldn't get in we're repeating the course.

Course description: This course examines the historical origins of the Christian religion from a secular and skeptical perspective. Course topics include the origins and composition of the New Testament; the sociological, cultural, and religious context and how they caused early Christian beliefs; discerning the historical, mythical and theological Jesus; and explaining early belief in his resurrection. It aims to give students a basic primer on the issue of early Christian origins and how to understand what happened without relying on dogma or the supernatural.

Students will be able to interact with me on a near-daily basis in professional-quality forum discussions of lectures and reading materials (or you can just listen in, although participation is required for a completion certificate). There are required readings but no grades, tests, or papers (we assess your level of participation and comprehension from your interactions with us each week). My book Not the Impossible Faith is the required course text (print, kindle, or PDF). Tuition is $60 ($50 for Friends of the Center, and only $10 for college students). To learn more, or register, visit the CFI course page: The Real Origins of Christianity (SCI 233).
 

7 comments:

Martin said...

I am a Christian, but I'm really interested in taking this course, to hear the "other side" so to speak. Though I am not currently a student, I should be at the beginning of the next academic year (doing a MA in Philosophy).

Is there any discount available for inbetween-education folk like me? It's annoying that, I'm as poor as a student (currently poorer) but get none of the student discounts >.<

Morrison said...

The course does not sound that promising, given the text.

After all, it does not even pretend to be an objective evaluation of the scriptures.

I can think of a lot better online stuff to spend money on. Even Bart Ehrman would be better than this.

Edward T. Babinski said...

I enjoyed the course very much (am still enjoying it). Considering the cost is only $60 ($10 for college students), and the e-text only costs $3, it's a bargain. Carrier also points his students to a list of some of the best modern day Evangelical Christian apologetic works by Licona, Habermas and Craig. It's not like he hasn't interacted with other people's arguments.

Richard Carrier said...

Martin said... Is there any discount available for inbetween-education folk like me?

Sorry, no. But it's pretty cheap really. Other institutions charge many times more than $60 for a one month online course.

Richard Carrier said...

Morrison said... ...it does not even pretend to be an objective evaluation of the scriptures.

Since it's a historical origins course, not a bible study course, your remark doesn't even make any relevant sense.

As to objectivity, I cite the mainstream scholarship and objective evidence for everything I teach (in fact that's one of the best reasons to take the course: to build a reliable bibliography of the best work on key issues), and I even emphasize the need to not assume more than we can prove.

If by "objective" you mean "ignoring all science and scientific history and assuming the supernatural claims of Christianity carry more weight than those of any other religion" then you are playing Orwellian word games, by defining what is in fact a subjective dogma as an objective POV. Certainly, anyone who agrees with doing that, should not take the course.

I can think of a lot better online stuff to spend money on. Even Bart Ehrman would be better than this.

He teaches an online course that you can take for only $60, and college students for only $10?

shreddakj said...

I have two Questions Richard,

1) I'm a university student in New Zealand, would I qualify for the discount?

2) I'll be going away for a large portion of the second half of December, including a few days leading up to New Years, would that prevent me from being able to complete the course?

Richard Carrier said...

shreddakj said...

1) I'm a university student in New Zealand, would I qualify for the discount?

I believe so. You'd have to confirm with their admin on that, but I can't imagine they'd only count American schools. As long as you have an email address with a .edu terminator.

2) I'll be going away for a large portion of the second half of December, including a few days leading up to New Years, would that prevent me from being able to complete the course?

Since you can't get school credit (not being a U Buffalo student), it won't really matter if you complete it or not. And as a student you will be able to access all of the materials for a few weeks after the course ends, so you can complete at your own pace. Dr. Shook is in charge of awarding participation certificates, so if that matters to you (it needn't), all you need do is show some participation (some discussion on the class forums, even if only on one day) demonstrating knowledge of the readings each week, which can be accomplished from anywhere in the world with an internet connection.