This is our catalog of courses. We will occasionally adjust the course listing to reflect the addition of new courses and the retirement of others.
Dr. Russell teaches Homer’s Odyssey as the greatest hymn to marriage and fatherhood outside of the Bible. It is also one of the West’s greatest adventure stories. It traces the quest to restore a family under attack after 20 years of the father’s absence.
Dr. Russell teaches Homer’s Odyssey as the greatest hymn to marriage and fatherhood outside of the Bible. It is also one of the West’s greatest adventure stories. It traces the quest to restore a family under attack after 20 years of the father’s absence. But to come home, Odysseus must restore relations with the Gods, which have been broken by his fault. The Great Wanderings fill only five books out of twenty-four. The other nineteen are devoted to the restoration of the family and the kingdom. It takes Odysseus the same twelve chapters to get from the shore of his island, Ithaka, into full possession of his house in peace as it takes to get him home to Ithaka on his ten-year long quest. These beautiful chapters on human relations, as well as the wonders of Odysseus’ purgation through his quest, make the epic a primary book of wisdom for all times and cultures.
Week 1 – Chapters 1-2: The King’s House Abused; Preparing a Hero; The Polis Abused; Portents of Doom
Week 2 – Chapters 3-4: An Ordered Kingdom; The Glory of Marriage
Week 3 – Chapters 5-6: Kalypso’s Test; Nausicaa’s Test
Week 4 – Chapter 7-8: A Better Kingdom; Games and Songs
Week 5 -Chapters 9-10: Ismaros; Lotos-Eaters; Cyclops; Men Earn Their Doom; The Divine Circe
Week 6 – Chapters 11-12: The Lessons of the Dead; More Gifts from Circe
Week 7 – Chapters 13-14: Home as a Strange Land of Humility; The Last Shall be First
Week 8 – Chapters 15-16: Telemakos Grown; Reunion and Plans
Week 9 – Chapters 17-18: Humiliations of a Hero; Penelope and Aphrodite
Week 10 -Chapters 19-20: Penelope’s Intuitions; Men Judge Themselves
Week 11 – Chapters 21-22: The Test of the Bow; The Cleansing of the House
Week 12 – Chapters 23-24: Penelope’s Victory; Divine Justice
Course Materials: Homer. The Odyssey. The Robert Fitzgerald translation (Vintage Classics) is highly recommended, ISBN: 0679728139. Any translation you use should have line numbers.
Homework: Each week you will read two chapters of the epic. That will take about 1 to 1.5 hours for most readers. There will be automated-graded weekly quizzes for immediate feedback, as well as two exams, one in the middle and one at the end of the course. Please come to class with thoughts and questions about what you have read.