Will William Tyndale be executed for heresy once again?

With just two weeks to go before the start of classes, I’ve finally (!) finished the materials for the second Reacting to the Past game I’m incorporating into an undergraduate Theory of Translation course this fall. This one is set in England and unfolds over the course of several years, touching on key dates leading up to (and including) William Tyndale’s trial for heresy. It opens in 1528, with a debate on whether translating the bible into vernacular languages like English should be considered heresy. It then jumps to 1530, when the English clergy meet to a) discuss whether a vernacular translation of the bible should be authorized and b) draw up a list of potentially heretical statements in Tyndale’s translation. It ends in 1535-1536, when Tyndale is tried for heresy and the players debate about and then vote on whether to try to have Tyndale’s life spared or leave him to be executed in Antwerp, where he was arrested. Along the way, students will have to watch out for spies, accusations of heresy, and changing political circumstances that affect each player’s ability to win the game.

The game is designed to be played with up to 13 students over four weeks, with about 1.5 to 2 hours devoted to the game during each of the four sessions. I’ve tried to provide thematic discussion questions related to each week of game play so instructors can draw links between the game and Translation Studies issues (e.g. translation and power, censorship, activism, and institutions).

So, as I offered for the other game I developed this summer, if anyone is interested in integrating this game into one of their classes, please let me know and I’d be happy to make the materials available: I have a 20-page list of role descriptions, a 9-page set of instructions for course instructors, and an 8-page handout for students. (I realize it’s too late now for the Fall term, but there’s still time to adopt this for a Winter term course).

I’ll post an update once I’ve had a chance to try the game out in the classroom. I also plan to survey students after the course, so I’ll post some comments on what they thought of the game and its pedagogical value.

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