Kenn, I would also recommend Bart Ehrman. I read his book, Jesus Interrupted, and it totally shook up my ideas of what I had been taught in church. It’s a very unbiased look at the gospels (and much of the New Testament) and uses as much reliable historical data from the times to build up an interesting case about who the historical Jesus was.
Personally, I am a little uncomfortable and disappointed with the air of Christian bias so far in my listening (I’m only on lecture 7). I was not expecting to get such a heavy dose of that perspective when I signed up for courses tied so heavily with liberty, reason, and logic. It’s not so much that religious topics are covered that’s bothered me, but that it feels Dr. J is overstating or legitimating its role in Western History and in our life. I’m not denying the influence, but it’s important to touch the religious topics rationally (for instance, during his discussion of the Hebrews, I got the feeling he assumed the miracles and conversations with God to be real). I’m not the expert… but for purpose of learning unbiased Western History, I would have preferred for the approach to be as secular as possible.