Materializing the Bible

Materializing the Bible October 11, 2015

I had an online resource come to my attention recently, called Materializing the Bible. It is a collection of those places where an attempt is made to take some element of the Bible an recreate or reenact it in the present day. Another resource that was drawn to my attention is The Virtual World Project, which features online recreations of archaeological sites. See also the article in the Arkansas Times about using virtual reality to immerse students in the past.

In a sense, this is closely related to the topic of gamification that I’ve been talking about a lot lately. One possible gamified approach to learning about the Bible is of course to use a time travel scenario. That approach also embraces the fact that students are outsiders to the cultures and historical contexts they are seeking to “visit” and learn about.

And of course, if the activity features a TARDIS, then one has the opportunity to make puns about materializing.

(One could presumably do a LARP (Live Action Role Play) and get students to actually dress up and themselves engage in reenactments. But that isn’t my cup of tea. I’d much rather have students dress as themselves and travel to Israel and the West Bank with me in real life!)

On the subject of gamification and its advantages, see the recent article on that topic in Inside Higher Education. And of related interest, see Connor Wood’s blog post on simulating religion.


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  • John MacDonald

    Sounds fun and educational! Hands on learning is always great because it engages more areas of the brain than just the mathematical/linguistic.

  • Matthew Funke

    There was a musical production I was in as a kid where the premise was that the characters were going back in time to watch Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego resist Nebuchadnezzar’s requirement to worship the king. No interesting story elements made possible by the time travel element surfaced — such things are hard when every detail *might* offend some churchgoer by being too far from the Bible’s account. I wish I could remember the name of the thing.