Richard Carrier and Illiterate Country Hicks

As readers of this blog probably know, I wrote a short and focused review of one aspect of Richard Carrier’s book On the Historicity of Jesus for The Bible and Interpretation. I am planning to follow up with another such focused review, probably focused on the use of the Rank-Raglan scale in assessing historicity. But there are lots [Read More...]

Too Old

A student sent me this e-mail recently: Dr. McGrath, Sorry about the multiple emails. I’m not sure if we went over this or not but I was wondering what your thoughts were on about how far back we should go when deciding which articles to use? I have all mine set, but one is from the [Read More...]

You May Take Notes

Times have changed. Technologies change. It isn't clear that just listening intently, and then photographing the board, helps you process the information as well as writing with your own hand. But it also isn't clear how much of our weaker processing when we don't take notes by hand is due to adapting to a new [Read More...]

LEGO Social Mobility

Inequality and social mobility (or lack thereof) in the United States, illustrated with LEGO. HT IO9. [Read more...]

10 Amazing Reasons to Buzzfeedify Your Syllabus

Beloit has released its annual mindset list, about the things that this year’s incoming freshmen take for granted (HT Inside Higher Ed). #2 (that’s “hashtag two” for you old-timers) is particularly interesting for educators: “Since they binge-watch their favorite TV shows, they might like to binge-watch the video portions of their courses too.” I’m giving [Read More...]

First Day of School

Classes start at Butler tomorrow. If you are an educator, have classes started for you? Was this/will this be you? [Read more...]

(Learning) From a Distance

This is the follow-up to my song parody about online learning, “Message Sent on Moodle,” although I actually had the idea for doing a parody of “From a Distance” on this topic first. Hope you enjoy it. Here are the lyrics: From A Distance From a distance An online course can seem Like something that [Read More...]

Saturday at #GenCon

I spent today at GenCon, and thought I’d share some thoughts and photos. The first thing I went to was a seminar on “Playful Learning in Role Play” led by David Simkins, a professor in the School of Interactive Games and Media at the Rochester Institute of Technology. The session had elements that were inspiring and [Read More...]

Book of Job Trigger Warning

Rob Zaretsky’s piece in Inside Higher Ed proposes trigger warnings for a number of pieces of classic literature. Given my field, I particularly appreciated his treatment of the Book of Job: Anonymous’ “The Book of Job” “Are you sure this is part of the Bible?” asked many respondents, who also exhibited intense unease with God’s actions, [Read More...]

Proof That God Loves Us

I fact-checked the quote about beer that is often attributed to Ben Franklin (“Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy”), and found that it is an adaptation of something that Franklin wrote about wine: On parle de la conversion de l’eau en vin, à la nôce de Cana, comme d’un [Read More...]

The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Capitalism

Talking about George Orwell's 1984, and the book within the book, is always interesting. But this semester the discussion took some turns that seem to me worth sharing. The book by Emmanuel Goldstein, The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism, is an intentional parody of Marx and Engels' Communist Manifesto. It represents a plan to [Read More...]


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