Some of you know by now that I’m creating two online institutes. The academic calendar for the first year begins in October.  One institute is called MEMRA. It focuses on ancient and biblical studies. I’m packing a lot of my content from my now fifteen years of classroom teaching for interested people who don’t care about earning credits.  Courses are six weeks long (except for certain ancient language courses, which are year-long in duration).

For paleobabbler fellow-travelers, here are some MEMRA courses offered during the 2010-2011 year that may be of interest:

  • ancient Egyptian history sequence (three modules); one module is on pyramds
  • history of ancient Israel (has a lot of archaeological content)
  • ancient Israelite religion
  • ancient Egyptian religion
  • history of the Old and New Testament texts (“how we got the OT / NT”)
  • courses in Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic (I’m waffling on whether to offer first-year hieroglyphics).

The other institute is for topics related to what is typically called the paranormal. It’s called the Institute for Paranormal, Preternatural, and Parapsychological Studies (IPPPS).  I want to address a range of topics from a critical academic perspective, stressing good sources, methods, and coherent thinking.  There’s actually a lot of peer-reviewed and otherwise academically-oriented material out there on strange topics that people could be exposed to.  How many people know that psychic phenomena was studied by research institutes at Stanford, Princeton, and Duke?  That alleged alien abductees have been researched by two psychology professors at Harvard ( who really don’t like each others’ work)?  It’s interesting stuff.

For this audience, I’m offering three courses critiquing ancient astronaut theories during the first year (two focused on Zecharia Sitchin; the other on Barry Downing’s work), along with a sequence on the history of UFO sightings in the U.S.  Another faculty member who just finished his PhD in historical anthropology is offering courses in the folklore of giants, vampirism, and witchcraft.

Just a heads up.