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Professor William R. Cook, Ph.D.

Professor William R. Cook
  • State University of New York, Geneseo
  • Cornell University
In some ways, being detached from the world allows you also to be united with the world.
Dr. William R. Cook is the Distinguished Teaching Professor of History at the State University of New York at Geneseo, where he has taught since 1970. He earned his bachelor's degree cum laude from Wabash College and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa there. He was then awarded Woodrow Wilson and Herbert Lehman fellowships to study medieval history at Cornell University, where he earned his Ph.D. Professor Cook teaches courses in ancient and medieval history, the Renaissance and Reformation periods, and the Bible and Christian thought. Since 1983 Professor Cook has directed 11 Seminars for School Teachers for the National Endowment for the Humanities. His books include Images of St. Francis of Assisi and Francis of Assisi: The Way of Poverty and Humility. Dr. Cook contributed to the Cambridge Companion to Giotto and edits and contributes to The Art of the Franciscan Order in Italy. Among his many awards, Professor Cook has received the Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching. In 1992 the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education named him New York State's Professor of the Year. In 2003 he received the first-ever CARA Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Medieval Studies from the Medieval Academy of America.
Testimonials

"Professor Cook did a great job of keeping the information interesting and relevant, and the lectures were well organized and impeccably produced. "

 

"I am continually captivated by Cook's profound scholarship, incisive insights. and conversational manner by which he tells a compelling story."

 

"Professor Cook's style is exceptionally colloquial, which I find quite engaging, and his enthusiasm is palpable and infectious. His range of interests and depth of expertise are truly remarkable."

 

"Professor Cook's style is exceptionally colloquial, which I find quite engaging, and his enthusiasm is palpable and infectious. His range of interests and depth of expertise are truly remarkable."

49 Courses and Sets

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49 Courses and Sets

  1. World's Greatest Churches Sale

    World's Greatest Churches

    William R. Cook
    Save up to $190.00 Starting at $69.95 $79.95 $69.95$79.95
    The great churches represent some of the world’s most stunning masterpieces of architecture, art, and faith. In The World’s Greatest Churches, go on a guided tour of the most outstanding, memorable, and meaningful churches in the world. Lavishly illustrated with breathtaking photos, detailed floor plans, and 3-D models, these lectures take you deeply into Christianity through its most important buildings.
  2. The Cathedral

    The Cathedral

    William R. Cook
    Starting at $214.95 Starting at $214.95 $254.95 $214.95$254.95
    Tour the world's most captivating cathedrals from the comfort of your own home with these 24 lavishly illustrated lectures by Professor William R. Cook. An exciting, immersive, and multidimensional learning experience, The Cathedral brings you closer to cathedrals like Notre Dame in Paris and those in Amiens, Chartres, and Canterbury than any on-site tour could hope to do. With high-definition 3-D modeling and...
  3. Dante's Divine Comedy

    Dante's Divine Comedy

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $129.95 Starting at $129.95 $254.95 $129.95$254.95
    Two gifted teachers share the fruit of two lifetimes’ worth of historical and literary expertise in this rewarding introduction to one of the greatest poems ever written. You will explore invaluable background information on Dante’s life, why he wrote the Divine Comedy, how to approach English editions, and many of the poem’s characters and episodes.
  4. The Catholic Church: A History

    The Catholic Church: A History

    William R. Cook
    Starting at $199.95 Starting at $199.95 $374.95 $199.95$374.95
    Explore the vast and fascinating history of one of the most influential institutions in the world with The Catholic Church: A History. In 36 informative and engaging lectures, follow the development of this powerful religious force throughout the centuries and witness its ability to move armies, inspire saints, and shape the lives and spirits of its more than 1 billion members. With noted historian and Professor...
  5. Lives of Great Christians

    Lives of Great Christians

    William R. Cook
    Starting at $129.95 Starting at $129.95 $254.95 $129.95$254.95
    For many, Christianity is the daily effort to live one’s faith in every moment. This course introduces you to those who have done so over the centuries, those Professor William Cook calls "superstars of faith:" Francis and Clare of Assisi, Catherine and Bernardino of Siena, Thomas More, Martin Luther, John Wesley, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Jr., and others.
  6. Francis of Assisi

    Francis of Assisi

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $89.95 Starting at $89.95 $134.95 $89.95$134.95
    When Francis of Assisi died in 1226, he left behind little material wealth. And yet he did leave behind a spiritual legacy that survives and changes lives even today. Francis of Assisi, delivered by the veteran teaching team of Professors William R. Cook and Ronald B. Herzman, gives you a well-rounded and fully informed introduction to this luminous man and his influence on the course of both Christian and Western...
  7. 36 Books That Changed the World Collection

    36 Books That Changed the World

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $199.95 Starting at $199.95 $269.95 $199.95$269.95
    Since the development of written language, books have played major roles in the world: Entertaining. Instructing. Inspiring. Even changing the course of history. Now, with 36 Books That Changed the World, a fascinating Great Courses Collection crafted from our extensive library of courses, take a riveting tour of the profound impact of books from thousands of years of history and from civilizations around the globe.
  8. St. Augustine's Confessions

    St. Augustine's Confessions

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $129.95 Starting at $129.95 $254.95 $129.95$254.95
    This course examines all 13 books, or chapters, of this masterpiece that inspired Dante and Martin Luther and encouraged Christianity to accept the thinking of Plato. It provides the background needed to understand the Confessions as Augustine intended and analyzes his account—told in stories that are as powerful as any in world literature—of the events leading to his Christian conversion.
  9. Tocqueville and the American Experiment

    Tocqueville and the American Experiment

    William R. Cook
    Starting at $129.95 Starting at $129.95 $254.95 $129.95$254.95
    Was the greatest book on U.S. democracy ever written crafted by a Frenchman visiting this country some 175 years ago? Why would such a book be relevant in today's ever-changing political landscape? Professor William R. Cook of the State University of New York, Geneseo, leads a 24-lecture, spirited exploration of Alexis de Tocqueville and his unique observations of this young nation that resulted in Democracy in...
  10. Machiavelli in Context

    Machiavelli in Context

    William R. Cook
    Starting at $129.95 Starting at $129.95 $254.95 $129.95$254.95
    What images does the name Machiavelli conjure up? Political opportunism? Cold-blooded manipulation? The ends that justify the means? But does the Machiavelli most of us think we know bear any resemblance to the Machiavelli who lived, pondered, and wrote? Professor William R. Cook offers the opportunity to meet an extraordinarily thoughtful and sincere student of history and its lessons.
  11. (Set) Machiavelli in Context & Great Ideas of Philosophy  Set

    (Set) Machiavelli in Context & Great Ideas of Philosophy

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $429.90 Starting at $429.90 $879.90 $429.90$879.90
    Who was the real Machiavelli? And what role did he play in the grander scheme of Western philosophy? Find out in Machiavelli in Context, which gives you an intimate look at both the philosopher's life and his great works (including The Prince). Then, consider Machiavelli's achievements alongside those of other great Western thinkers in Great Ideas of Philosophy, 2nd Edition.
  12. (Set) Old Testament & The Catholic Church: A History  Set

    (Set) Old Testament & The Catholic Church: A History

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $329.90 Starting at $329.90 $629.90 $329.90$629.90
    Glean new insights about the Old Testament and the Catholic Church with this engaging course set that pairs two of our popular religion courses. First, in The Old Testament, probe the contents of these biblical books, explore debates over their meaning, survey the critical methods used to interpret them, and much more. And in The Catholic Church: A History, follow the development of this powerful religious force...
  13. (Set) The Cathedral & The Catholic Church: A History Set

    (Set) The Cathedral & The Catholic Church: A History

    William R. Cook
    Starting at $534.90 Starting at $534.90 $534.90 $534.90$534.90
  14. (Set) The Catholic Church: A History & Popes and the Papacy: A History  Set

    (Set) The Catholic Church: A History & Popes and the Papacy: A History

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $329.90 Starting at $329.90 $629.90 $329.90$629.90
    Explore the vast and fascinating history of one of the most influential spiritual institutions in the world with this two-course set taught by award-winning professors. In The Catholic Church: A History, follow the development of this powerful religious force throughout the centuries and witness its ability to move armies, inspire saints, and shape the lives and spirits of its more than 1 billion members. Then,...
  15. (Set) History of Christian Theology & The Catholic Church: A History  Set

    (Set) History of Christian Theology & The Catholic Church: A History

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $399.90 Starting at $399.90 $749.90 $399.90$749.90
    Illuminate your understanding of Christianity with this insightful two-course set delivered by two expert religion scholars and award-winning professors. In The History of Christian Theology, investigate the many responses that Christian believers, scholars, and theologians have developed over more than 2,000 years of questions about their faith. Then, in The Catholic Church: A History, follow the development of...
  16. (Set) Shakespeare: Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies & Dante's  Divine Comedy   Set

    (Set) Shakespeare: Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies & Dante's Divine Comedy

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $329.90 Starting at $329.90 $629.90 $329.90$629.90
    Read between the lines of enduring masterpieces by two of Western civilization's greatest writers in this illuminating course set. Start by exploring Dante's great work of spiritual and medieval poetry in Dante's Divine Comedy. Then, in Shakespeare: Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies, get an introduction to some of the hallmark plays of William Shakespeare and discover exactly what makes him the definitive author of...
  17. (Set) Story of Medieval England: From King Arthur to the Tudor Conquest & The Cathedral  Set

    (Set) Story of Medieval England: From King Arthur to the Tudor Conquest & The Cathedral

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $534.90 Starting at $534.90 $629.90 $534.90$629.90
    Experience life as it was lived and felt during the Middle Ages with this vibrant two-course set. The Story of Medieval England: From King Arthur to the Tudor Conquest tells the remarkable story of a tumultuous, thousand-year period that put into place the foundation of much of the England—and world—we know today. The Cathedral is an exciting and immersive experience that will bring you closer to the...
  18. (Set) Genius of Michelangelo & The Cathedral  Set

    (Set) Genius of Michelangelo & The Cathedral

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $534.90 Starting at $534.90 $629.90 $534.90$629.90
    Discover the awe-inspiring artistry in the Renaissance art of Michelangelo and the Gothic cathedrals of Europe in this two-course set by two master professors. In The Genius of Michelangelo, get new insights on the life and art of this Renaissance master by Michelangelo expert and Professor William E. Wallace. And in medieval historian and Professor William R. Cook's The Cathedral, bring magnificent Gothic...
  19. (Set) St. Augustine's  Confessions  & Early Christianity  Set

    (Set) St. Augustine's Confessions & Early Christianity

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $259.90 Starting at $259.90 $509.90 $259.90$509.90
  20. (Set) Tocqueville and the American Experiment & History of the United States, 2nd Edition  Set

    (Set) Tocqueville and the American Experiment & History of the United States, 2nd Edition

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $529.90 Starting at $529.90 $1,004.90 $529.90$1,004.90
    Get a comprehensive guide to the profound origins of our great nation. In Tocqueville and the American Experiment, explore Alexis de Tocqueville's unique observations on our young nation that resulted in his two volumes of Democracy in America. Then, place Tocqueville's observations in the larger scope of American history in the encyclopedic survey course The History of the United States, 2nd Edition.
  21. (Set) Understanding Greek and Roman Technology: From Catapult to the Pantheon & The Cathedral  Set

    (Set) Understanding Greek and Roman Technology: From Catapult to the Pantheon & The Cathedral

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $429.90 Starting at $429.90 $509.90 $429.90$509.90
    Travel back in time to see history’s greatest structures as they are being built. In Understanding Greek and Roman Technology: From Catapult to the Pantheon, get an appreciation for what the Greeks and Romans achieved without the construction tools we depend on in modern times. In The Cathedral, continue your architectural study with the most beautiful and intricate holy sites ever created.
  22. (Set) Experiencing the Middle Ages  Set

    (Set) Experiencing the Middle Ages

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $2,774.55 Starting at $2,774.55 $2,774.55 $2,774.55$2,774.55
    What was it like to live during the Middle Ages—one of the most important, yet most often overlooked, periods in the history of the Western world? Now you can find out with these Great Courses. Guided by expert medievalists and dynamic professors, you'll travel back in time and relieve some of the most intriguing moments from the years between A.D. 300 and 1500. Whether you're watching the rise of the...
  23. (Set) The Cathedral & History of European Art  Set

    (Set) The Cathedral & History of European Art

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $654.90 Starting at $654.90 $774.90 $654.90$774.90
  24. (Set) The Catholic Church: A History & Jesus and the Gospels  Set

    (Set) The Catholic Church: A History & Jesus and the Gospels

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $399.90 Starting at $399.90 $749.90 $399.90$749.90
    Delve into two essential aspects of Christianity with this two-course set delivered by two of our most popular religion scholars and professors. First, investigate the vast and fascinating history of one of the most influential institutions in the world with The Catholic Church: A History. Then, attempt to shape a single picture of Jesus from the various accounts of his life given in the Gospels in the 36 lectures...
  25. (Set) Lives of Great Christians & New Testament  Set

    (Set) Lives of Great Christians & New Testament

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $259.90 Starting at $259.90 $509.90 $259.90$509.90
  26. (Set) Classical Mythology/Dante's  Divine Comedy Set

    (Set) Classical Mythology/Dante's Divine Comedy

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $259.90 Starting at $259.90 $509.90 $259.90$509.90
  27. (Set)  The Cathedral & The Great Tours: Greece and Turkey Set

    (Set) The Cathedral & The Great Tours: Greece and Turkey

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $429.90 Starting at $429.90 $509.90 $429.90$509.90
  28. (Set) Great Artists of the Italian Renaissance & The Cathedral  Set

    (Set) Great Artists of the Italian Renaissance & The Cathedral

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $534.90 Starting at $534.90 $629.90 $534.90$629.90
    Explore the lives and works of great masters of the Renaissance in Italy and the architectural wonders that are Gothic cathedrals in these two visually rich courses. First, delve into the art of more than 40 artists who painted and sculpted in this renowned era in history with Great Artists of the Italian Renaissance. Then, in The Cathedral, bring magnificent Gothic cathedrals right into your home and enjoy views...
  29. (Set) St. Augustine's  Confessions  & After the New Testament  Set

    (Set) St. Augustine's Confessions & After the New Testament

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $259.90 Starting at $259.90 $509.90 $259.90$509.90
  30. (Set) The Cathedral & Holy Land Revealed  Set

    (Set) The Cathedral & Holy Land Revealed

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $534.90 Starting at $534.90 $629.90 $534.90$629.90
    Travel around the world and tour some of its most impressive spiritual and architectural sites from the comfort of home with this richly illustrated two-course set. First, in The Cathedral, high-definition 3-D modeling brings you closer to cathedrals like Notre Dame in Paris and Canterbury in England than any on-site tour could do. And The Holy Land Revealed allows you to relive and encounter life in the ancient...