I’ve now added “Ancient Atheism” to my monthly class roster. You can register now and join us starting next week or any subsequent month. Register anytime ahead of the month you want—for this or any of several other courses I’m offering.
In Ancient Atheism you’ll learn how atheism was argued in antiquity, who the leading atheist thinkers were, what religions and theologies they were fighting against, what differences and similarities there were with modern atheism, and how modern atheism can be informed or transformed by ancient atheism. This course also dispels a number of myths about ancient atheism and ancient religion. And it includes discussion of ancient debates between creationists and the naturalists who argued gods did not make life or the world, which eerily resemble debates today.
Let anyone else know who you think might also be interested in this!
Benefits of the Course
Nonbelievers, this is your chance to learn about your heritage under the guidance of a published expert in ancient history, who can answer all the questions you’ll have about it, and help you understand the scholarship and literature.
Believers, this is your chance to study how Western atheism began, and its actual context—of doubt and religion, and of even Christianity itself, which was as much in opposition to ancient skeptics as to believers in other gods.
Required course text: Tim Whitmarsh, Battling the Gods: Atheism in the Ancient World.
We will explore one part of the four-part course text each week: Archaic Greece (looking at the earliest records of Western atheism that we have); Classical Athens (looking at the earliest detailed philosophical discussions of atheism, in the era of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle); the Hellenistic Era (looking at the evolution of godless thought after Aristotle, including Epicurean and Cyrenaic atheism, and beyond); and the Roman Era (looking at the last battles over godlessness in the ancient world, including famous Roman Skeptics, and the polemics of Christians against atheism, and whether Christians were really ever called atheists). The story ends with atheism being outlawed by Theodosius in 395 A.D.
New Method of Registering
I am moving all my online courses to a Google Groups platform. They will be more affordable, and any class can be taken in any future month you like, not just this July. I will gradually set things up so any of my ten standard courses will be available in any month. Courses will always start the first of the month and end at the close of that month.
For this June—starting Monday, although you can join in and catch up anytime during the first ten days—only six courses are on the roster (follow the links to explore each): Counter-Apologetics (Christian & Islamic), Historical Methods for Everyone, the Science & Philosophy of Free Will, Moral Reasoning from Theory to Practice, and Developing & Defending Naturalism as a Worldview, and now Ancient Atheism.
Registration for any single one-month course is only $49. Every course also requires you purchase a single course text, in either print or digital format, which you should give yourself plenty of time to receive before starting the course. The required text is explained in each course description. For Ancient Atheism, it’s Tim Whitmarsh’s Battling the Gods: Atheism in the Ancient World.
Additional course readings will be provided for free.
Students will require a Google Account (creating one is free and easy and has many other uses) and must pay the registration fee using my PayPal portal (you don’t need a PayPal account; any suitable credit or bank card will do). After paying the $49, email me with a note that you’ve paid and what for (which month and course; you can choose to start in any future month, any course I am offering; remember to also get the course text, per above). In that email please provide me the same name you used with PayPal, and your Google Account email address, so I can invite you into the course forum. You will be sent that invite by email on or before the first of the month you chose.
Then participate as much or as little as you like! Read the assigned course materials each week, answer the forum challenge questions, and post any questions or challenges you have on the subject. I’ll provide serious and attentive answers and assessments and continue to engage with you as much as you need throughout the month.
Also consider registering for any other of the several courses on my roster—this July or any future month:
- Counter-Apologetics: Debunking Christianity & Islam
- Historical Methods for Everyone
- Science & Philosophy of Free Will
- Moral Reasoning from Theory to Practice
- Developing & Defending Naturalism as a Worldview