When You Can’t Read, Maybe You Can Listen

Reading is essential for expanding knowledge, but it requires dedicated time that can be hard to set aside. Audio recordings give us opportunities to learn while we do other things, such as driving or mowing the lawn. (Tip: When mowing, wear earbuds under earmuff-style hearing protectors. The earbuds may fit in the hearing protectors better if you loop the cords over the backs of your ears instead of wearing them normally.) Here are a few of my favorite audio resources.

Please note that not all of them come from a Christian perspective, and these will at times reflect values contrary to our own even as they offer valuable knowledge and insight in other areas. It’s important to remain well-grounded in biblical truth and the person of Jesus, and to listen with discretion.

Audio books from your local public library

I’ve often been pleasantly surprised by the selection of audio books available at public libraries, even small ones. I once had a lengthy commute, and nearby small-town libraries provided me with many gems such as David McCullough’s biography of John Adams and C. S. Lewis’s The Problem of Pain.

Anabaptist Identity Conference recordings

Speakers such as David Bercot, Dean Taylor, Edsel Burdge, Chester Weaver, John D. Martin, and Frank Reed address issues related to Anabaptism. Often thought-provoking, and sometimes off the beaten path.


Find it here on iTunes.

In this weekly podcast, economist Russ Roberts interviews a wide variety of people, including but not limited to other economists, journalists, businesspeople, and scientists. This might sound boring, but Roberts’s curiosity and healthy skepticism make these conversations consistently stimulating.

Anabaptist Perspectives

This podcast is like the Anabaptist Identity Conference in the format of EconTalk. My students have sometimes seemed to think that Mennonites don’t really do anything, and that the action is found elsewhere. These thoughtful interviews reveal Anabaptism as a vigorous, active tradition.

The History of Rome

Find History of Rome and Revolutions on iTunes here and here.

The engaging Mike Duncan told the story of Ancient Rome from Romulus and Remus to Romulus Augustulus. This podcast completed, he turned to the great political revolutions of modern history, beginning with the English Civil Wars. Detailed narratives of important events usually skimmed over if not ignored entirely.

Open Yale Courses

Recordings of class lectures for many Yale University courses may be freely downloaded. I’ve listened to several, and especially enjoyed Introduction to Ancient Greek History (iTunes), The American Revolution (iTunes), and The Civil War and Reconstruction Era, 1845–1877 (iTunes).

The Dock List

To get talks on education from conservative Anabaptists in your podcast feed, you can use Google Play or iTunes. I look forward to hearing Jonas Sauder talk about “Can’t He, or Won’t He?” while I mow the lawn later today.

And there’s much, much more in video and audio talks on The Dock. You can add to this resource for other educators by helping revive this thread about podcasts on the forums with your own suggestions.

Download, listen, and learn!

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Lucas Hilty

6 years ago

I’ll add an Open Yale recommendation: Paul Freedman’s History 210 (Early Middle Ages). Freedman is easy to follow and helps us imagine real life during the period that used to be called the Dark Ages. It’s also available on YouTube for those who prefer this.I should note that, as I suspect is the case with many of the resources linked above, Freedman’s classes are sympathetic to religious people but not particularly reverent.

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