Is 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.
“… 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.
While I realize that many Higgaion readers are probably eager for the next installment in my discussion of inspiration, I’ve had some other business to attend to, like teaching my classes. In that connection, I’ve just published my first Slideshare presentation, on the Bible in medieval Jewish scholarship. Someday (sooner rather than later, I hope), I’ll explain more of the context for this presentation. In the meantime, I thought you might enjoy seeing it. Some of you might even have suggestions for improving it—keeping in mind that studying the slideshow is a homework assignment for traditional first-year college students, not an academic publication.