October 2019 – Biblical Scholarship on the New Testament, with Dr. Richard Carrier

Richard Carrier (Ph.D., Columbia University) is offering his special seminar, “Biblical Scholarship on the New Testament.”

Dr. Richard Carrier, who has years of training from Columbia University in paleography, papyrology, and ancient Greek, will teach students the basics of how to investigate, criticize, and study the New Testament from the perspective of how its text is constructed from manuscripts, as well as how to work from the original Greek (no prior knowledge of Greek is needed) without learning anything more than the Greek alphabet and the international terminology of grammar, and how to investigate and make the best use of academic and peer reviewed biblical scholarship. Students will learn how to: locate words in the Greek text of the Bible, and find their definitions using online resources, and to use that skill to critically examine English translations; check if the manuscripts disagree on what the text says at that point, and what to make of that if they do; talk and reason about disagreements in the manuscripts, as well as the differing valences of words between modern translations and ancient originals; discern what kinds of errors and deliberate alterations are common in the biblical manuscripts; and how to use scholarship on the New Testament critically and informedly. This course will also be a basic introduction to the contents of the New Testament and its composition, textual history, and assembly. After a month you will have a much better understanding and skill-set for studying, discussing, and arguing over, the content and history of the Christian Bible, as well as learn fascinating and interesting things about ancient history and how we know what we know about it from the perspective of how all ancient writing has been preserved yet distorted in transmission.

start/end dates – October 1 / October 31, 2019

DEADLINE for registration – October 10

Secular Sage level registration- $79
Academy Certificate registration- $139

Choose your registration level after clicking on “Register” below — look for ‘-cert’ for Certificate level.

Schedule: Specific reading and discussion goals are set for every week, completing four units in four weeks, but within that framework you can participate in every element on your own time. There are no live events to be missed. One book is required reading (see below). Everything else about the course is provided inside the classroom website. Course lectures, academic papers, links to websites, and forums for discussions with the instructor and students are included in the Moodle website classroom. Visit the class anytime to contribute your posts and receive Dr. Carrier’s replies in discussion forums.

Course Reading: The required course text (which students must purchase, in print or electronic form) is Richard Carrier, Hitler Homer Bible Christ. All other materials will be provided for free, including research papers discussed, and excerpts from critical scholarly editions of the Bible in the original Greek, public online tools, and other readings and resources.

GENERAL INFORMATION: Online classrooms and their discussion threads are accessible 24/7, so you can participate at any hour of the day when there’s some time in your busy schedule. Instructors will not be on live video and you won’t be either – there is nothing happening on camera and no particular time of day you have to be present. If a pre-recorded video is posted, you can view it at your convenience. There’s nothing ‘live’ to be missed, and course instructors respond individually and promptly to all questions and comments. Instructors lead everyone through lectures and readings, but no attendance is taken and there are no assignments to complete – instructors are always available when you are ready to engage them about what is on your mind.

Ask Richard about his course by posting on his facebook wall at www.facebook.com/richard.carrier.phd

Richard Carrier
Richard Carrier, PhD, is the renowned author of Sense and Goodness without God and Proving History, as well as numerous articles online and in print. He received his PhD in ancient history from Columbia University in 2008, and now specializes in the modern philosophy of naturalism, the origins of Christianity, and the intellectual history of Greece and Rome. For more about Richard and his work visit www.richardcarrier.info.



  • Welcome to the Secular Academy!

    Online webinars, forums, and workshops are now convenient and affordable, on important topics vital to nonreligious people and leaders advancing the secular movement. We welcome course suggestions: admin@secularactivism.org

    We are now offering the Secular Academy’s Certificate Program!

    Partners for Secular Activism is a 501c3 nonprofit educational project, founded in 2014 by John Shook, PhD. Dr. Shook worked with the founder of secular humanism, Paul Kurtz, for several years to develop this accessible kind of online education. We also founded the ‘Science and the Public’ Master’s Program – the part-time, online Masters of Education degree from the University at Buffalo, New York. This is America’s only entirely online program for the secular promotion of science and science-based policy.

    SecularActivism.org is a 501c3 nonprofit educational project and nothing like those for-profit ventures. Our instructors keep half the fees, because they spend many hours online with their students; the other half covers the website/online assistance/accounting costs. We don’t do MOOCs – those “massively open online courses” where watching videos of a professor’s lecturing won’t ever get your questions answered. Instead, we search for people with practical expertise and leadership abilities who want to communicate directly with you – they offer Very Interactive Enrichment Webinars, or VIEWS. Online classrooms and their discussion threads are accessible 24/7, so you can participate at your own pace, at any hour of the day when there’s some time in your busy schedule. Your instructor(s) will not be on live video and you won’t be either – there is nothing on camera and no particular time of day you have to be present. If an instructor posts a prerecorded video, you can view it at your convenience. There’s nothing ‘live’ to be missed, and instructors respond individually and promptly to all questions and comments. Instructors lead everyone through lectures and readings, but no attendance is taken and there are no assignments to complete – instructors are always available when you are ready to engage them about what is on your mind.

    You can see an online classroom. We use Moodle, and as Moodle explains, it is a virtual classroom system for tens of thousands of learning environments globally, including several university systems – more than 65 million users makes it the world’s most widely used learning platform. Contact instructors for more details about their courses through the links provided within their posted announcements below.

    Wondering where you’d find the time? 30 minutes one day, 45 minutes another – a handful of hours add up over a week, entirely under your control. Admit it – you already spend that kind of time on your favorite social media sites. a simple format for any phone or tabletIn class, you can be more of a listener (well, a reader) or more of a talker, whenever the mood strikes. By the end of the month, you will have had as much engagement and conversation as getting away for a two-day retreat. Leaving town for a while? Your classroom goes with you on a smartphone or a tablet, even on the beach. See you in class!