Gann Teacher Appears on History Channel Documentary
How many high school students can say that their history teacher is one of the world's leading authorities on an infamous ancient king?
Dr. Adam Marshak's history students can.
During the past month, hundreds of thousands tuned into a new four-part History Channel documentary chronicling the early years of Christianity in which Dr. Marshak shared his knowledge and expertise with viewers. Dr. Marshak, who received his doctorate in Roman History from Yale, is one of the leading authorities on King Herod. The documentary, Jesus: His Life, featured Dr. Marshak as an expert to talk about Herod's rule during the waning BCE years.
The early church is one of Marshak’s scholarly interests, and for eight years he taught a course at Gann on early Christianity. “The class speaks to the school’s commitment to diversity and engagement with the world,” explains Marshak. “Our students live in a non-Jewish world, and it's important that they engage with and learn about other religions. Learning about Christianity helps the kids have a deeper understanding of their own religious tradition.”
Marshak says that he eschewed the life of a “publish or perish” university professor for many reasons, among them that the academic world can be extremely insular, in contrast to the intellectual community he has found at Gann. “One of the things that makes Gann so unique is its faculty,” he explains. “There are some really gifted scholars, thinkers and scientists and we all learn from each other. In the university world, it’s unlikely I would sit and talk to a mathematician about game theory or have the opportunity to collaborate across disciplines like we so often do at Gann.” Marshak’s other reason for teaching high school is simple: “Professors teach subjects, teachers teach kids. I love teaching.”
Marshak is currently teaching a course for 12th graders on the creation of the Nazi state, Origins of the Nazi Genocide.