One creative New Testament professor has come up with a way to make learning about the Bible’s history more engaging.
Christian Today reports that Dr. James F. McGrath teaches a New Testament course at Butler University. He realized that students often came to his class with misconceptions about how the Bible was formed. McGrath considered this problem and then brainstormed a card game called Canon that makes learning about the Bible’s origins fun and educational.
He explains how he realized there was a need for such a game:
“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 biblical canon. Some think the whole thing dropped from the sky as a complete package, while others have heard the Da Vinci Code version that has Constantine telling the Church that it has too many Gospels and they need to cut the list down to four.
As those who have studied it know,” he continued, “the actual history of the canon is a complex one, which started with works that a network of communities happened to have and share, and then met with debates among themselves, as well as between themselves and others, about works they did not all share. Discussions, additions, removals, and much else continued to happen down the centuries.”
Since the process of forming the Bible was “competitive and collaborative at the same time,” McGrath decided to apply those dynamics to his game. You can learn more of the details on how to play the game here.
McGrath also realized another way to engage his students on the subject of the Bible’s origins. He noticed that there are actually parallels between popular sci-fi franchises such as Star Wars, Star Trek, or Doctor Who and the history of the Bible’s existence.
“When someone says that Star Wars Episode I is not as authoritative as the original trilogy, that parallels debates about the relative importance of Romans and James between Protestants and Catholics,” McGrath says, pointing to an example.
He goes on to make another comparison: “And when all fans agree that the first Star Wars movie ever made is at the heart of the canon, and yet disagree about whether Han shot first, that is essentially a matter of textual criticism, akin to accepting the Gospel of John and yet debating the status of the story of the woman caught in adultery.”
You can find out more about Canon by visiting its Facebook page.