Author Archives: Chris Heard

About Chris Heard

I’m an Associate Professor of Religion (specifically, biblical studies) at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California.

A new home for Higgaion

For various reasons, I have moved Higgaion to a new URL. The old drchris.me/higgaion URL will redirect here for a while, until its hosting contract runs out. After that, it won’t work any more. Please update your bookmarks, RSS readers, and so forth to point to theheards.us/chris instead. If you’re updating RSS feeds, scroll to the bottom of the sidebar for convenient links.

Who knows, maybe one of these days I’ll even write something worthwhile again.

Snippets from the history of gameful learning

A collection of old gamesIs this a keyboard I see before me, its letters toward my hand? Why, it certainly is, and now I find myself writing the first Higgaion post in quite a long time. I’m working with some other Pepperdine folk on a workshop intended to encourage and support what we call “gameful learning.” We use this term to describe everything from using games and simulations in class to structuring entire courses like alternate reality games.

While typing an e-mail to one of my colleagues, I noticed that my Mac’s built-in dictionary doesn’t recognize the word gameful, so I decided to investigate the word using Google’s Ngram Viewer. I found a few interesting snippets.

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Martin Luther on astrology

“… Augustine condemned all astrology. Although it contains much superstition, yet it should not be entirely despised, for it is wholly given up to the observation and consideration of divine themes, a zeal and diligence most worthy of human beings. Therefore we find that many most highly talented and excellent persons have exercised themselves in astrology and obtained pleasure from it.” — Martin Luther, Lectures on Genesis, vol. 1 (ed. John Nicholas Lenker, 1904), 74

Not that Luther was ever reluctant to disagree with Augustine, but I can’t help wondering which “highly talented and excellent persons” Luther had in mind, and why they were so important to him that he characterized astrology as good clean fun rather than pagan drivel.

Mac apps and Biblical Hebrew update: ditch your Tiro keyboard

If you’re frustrated with your attempts at right-to-left text processing on a Macintosh, the problem may lie in your keyboard layout. For quite a while now, I’ve been using the Biblical Hebrew keyboard layout prepared by Tiro Typeworks and distributed by the Society of Biblical Literature. Two or three days ago, though, I discovered that the vast majority of my frustrations with right-to-left text processing on a Macintosh were caused by using the Tiro keyboard layout.

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I hope so

When the shampoo bottle says “Lather. Rinse. Repeat,” we don’t spend the rest of our lives in the shower. We infer that it means “repeat once.” And we know how to interpret ambiguous headlines such as “Kids Make Nutritious Snacks,” “Prostitutes Appeal to Pope,” and “British Left Waffles on Falkland Islands” … (Steven Pinker, The Blank Slate)