Grandmother Fish

I was delighted that author Jonathan Tweet, when he got in touch with me a while back, followed up by having a copy of his children’s book about evolution, Grandmother Fish, sent to me. The book recognizes and faces head on the challenges in teaching scientific concepts to small children, especially in relation to a topic about which misunderstandings are widespread even among those who accept mainstream science. And so the main body introduces human ancestors and their distinctive characteristics... Read more

Gamification in Higher Education #GenCon50 Presentation

I’d like to share some of my experience of Gen Con’s Trade Day yesterday. To start with, here is video from the presentation that my colleagues Jason Goldsmith, Amanda Starkel, and I gave at Gen Con yesterday. The room was packed, the audience engaged, and the conversations lively. I’m sorry that my camera battery ran out before the end of the two-hour session. I’ll happily say more about what was in the missing segment, but regular readers will probably be... Read more

Religion Opening at Butler University

I want to spread the word about an opening at Butler University in my own Department of Philosophy, Religion, and Classics: Assistant Professor of Religion Butler University seeks to hire a tenure-track assistant professor of religion who specializes in Islam, and whose scholarly interests involve critical reflection on issues of social justice and diversity. The candidate should have teaching proficiency in contemporary Middle Eastern and/or African Islam, and should be proficient in Arabic. Additional expertise in Islam elsewhere (e.g., North... Read more

Ovid Butler vs. White Supremacism

Conservative blogs drew attention to a Butler University course about resisting “Trumpism” a while back. I don’t want to reignite the interest in that subject, since I know it caused a lot of headaches for a number of people around the Butler campus. But there are things related to that broader topic that need to be said as the start of the academic year draws near, and as university campuses are seeing an increase in activity by the KKK/Neo-Nazis/white supremacists, and as it becomes... Read more

About Canon: The Card Game

I hope that readers of this blog have all seen Joseph Hartropp’s article about Canon: The Card Game. If not, please do read it. I thought that it might be worth sharing here my longer text that I provided to him about the game, in case you find it interesting. The game originated with one of the challenges I face as a professor who teaches a one-semester course on the Bible. Students regularly come to class with misconceptions about the... Read more

Race and Ethnicity in Antiquity at #AARSBL17

Here’s another session to add to your list of what to attend at SBL in Boston this November.

Racist Propaganda and Landmines

There have long been efforts to ban landmines, primarily for the simple reason that they persist long after the war has ended, when they can blow up and injure innocent people who had nothing to do with the war that led to the creation of the minefield. Why am I mentioning this at a moment when you’d expect me to be blogging about the Nazi marches in Charlottesville? Because propaganda does the same thing as landmines. A case in point:... Read more

Eclipse of the End Times

Eclipses were treated as portents throughout much of history (see Anne Graham Lotz’s ambiguous comments on this subject). Eventually, however, people realized that these are entirely predictable events that result from the moon passing between the sun and Earth (in the case of solar eclipses) or the Earth passing between the sun and the moon (in the case of lunar eclipses). As you know, we have one coming up this month, on August 21st  2017, that will be visible in many... Read more

The Elephant in the Room

As the first movement of his choral and orchestral work titled Creation/Creator, Christopher Theofanidis used for the libretto a poem by the famous Sufi mystic Rumi (translated by Coleman Barks): Elephant in the Dark Some Hindus have an elephant to show. No one here has ever seen an elephant. They bring it at night to a dark room. One by one, we go in the dark and come out saying how we experience the animal. One of us happens to touch... Read more

“David” by Stephen Melillo

[youtube][/youtube]     I discovered Stephen Melillo’s music through the Naxos Music Database, and from there looked online to see what else I could find. There are quite a few things on YouTube and SoundCloud and a lot on the composer’s website. The piece I decided to share here is “David,” since it has a biblical connection, exploring the life of King David. Does the piece evoke that character in the Bible and the stories about him for you, when you listen to... Read more
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