As a dyed-in-the-wool Catholic, I view these structures not only for their majesty and wonder of construction, but also for the purpose of their design and their incredibly long history of fulfilling that purpose, as sanctified houses of worship. Dr. Cook (also obviously Catholic) includes that aspect of each church, placing each within its own context.
Dr. Cook is introduced by The Teaching Company as follows:
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.If these medieval cathedrals cause you to catch your breath in astonishment, as they do me, I recommend you consider this DVD series for your collection. All the courses I've purchased through The Teaching Company have been well worth their price (which is always, always discounted by at least 50% once you get on their mailing list), but The Cathedral is a particular gem in their collection.
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.
And...even though I took over a month to recover from my month in France last year, I'm so ready to go again. In Dr. Cook's expert opinion, I missed a few of the most outstanding cathedrals (including Beauvais, Strasbourg, and Cologne in Germany). Armed with the details of each cathedral as described by Dr. Cook, I'd also be so much more informed as to the history and specific details of each building. Those sound to me like two good reasons to plan for a return trip. Croissants, Bonne Maman cookies and life in Paris near the Seine (or in a cottage in Chartres or Amiens) make five reasons...and counting. Stay tuned...CynWrites may be on the go again.