Featured Book: The Meaning of Life: Perspectives from the World’s Great Intellectual Traditions


“This course should be a prerequisite for living your life.” That is one student’s take on this DVD set—that’s right, it’s not a book—the eighth of The Great Courses programs now available in your church Library. His is one of the 117 five-star reviews—the most allowed—the study garnered. In 36 half-hour-long lectures, the instructor, Jay Garfield, renders, according to The Great Courses, a “wide-ranging exploration of what various spiritual, religious, and philosophical traditions have contributed to this profound” question: what is the meaning of life?

Abounding in wisdom—an alumnus insists it’s “one of the most enriching experiences anybody could have”—the program offers insights from the likes of the Bhagavad-Gita and Job to the discernment of Nietzsche and a Lakota medicine man. Garfield, a philosophy professor at Smith College, about whom viewers rave [“His mastery of so many disparate cultures is astounding”], touches upon duty, happiness, liberty, God, and much more.

Still, finally, Garfield admits…spoiler alert!…”Tempting as it may be to form a single answer…there is none to be found.” Still, as one learner observed, “[H]e heightens the desire of his listeners to make their own search for the meaning of life.”

The Meaning of Life: Perspectives from the World’s Great Intellectual Traditions With Jay Garfield
The Great Courses, 2011