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HT Prophets and Pop Stars
And in case you’re wondering if Jesus had a sense of humor…
Thanks for the link. It’s good to be straight on that now…
So here’s a question that only a Professor of Biblical Language and Literature can probably answer: What bits of the Bible are supposed to be funny?
I don’t read very much Greek, but there are a few sayings of Jesus which read as if they’re intentionally sarcastic. The “whitewashed tombs” bit is pretty obvious, but even something as simple as the phrase which is usually translated “let he who has ears, let him hear” could have received a laugh. The “blind leading the blind” remark may be, too.
Here’s a link to a post I wrote a few years ago on the subject of Jesus’ sense of humor: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/religionprof/2007/09/jesus-sense-of-humor.html
If I may poke in here…
Since the question asks about the Bibile, there are some Old Testament texts that many regard as humorous; in fact Joy Gresham filled in her husband, C. S. Lewis, on the Jewish traditions involved.
The whole story of Jonah is, by these accounts, a humorous tale. The whale is funny. There’s a silliness in the whole notion of trying to run away from God — just the dumb sort of thing a guy might do if he’s trying to avoid taking God’s orders to try to save some people from being bashed for their stubborn wickedness. So when he gets out of the whale, he gives up and goes to Nineveh and preaches the warning, trying to make sure that no one hears him. Alas, they do, and they catch on, and they reform, and God doesn’t smite them. And is Jonah pissed! So he goes and sulks, and the end is that God taunts him about his tender concern for the weed that was sheltering him from the sun, compared to his concern for the people of Nineveh.
Anne Herbert worked this up splendidly many years ago, but I don’t know if the text can be obtained anywhere accessible. (She also coined “Practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty.”)
Then there’s Exodus, a real funny story, no? But an unbelievably learned Jewish physicist pointed me to Exodus 14:11. They’re out in the desert, and things are tough, and a bunch of them go to Moses and say, “So, there aren’t enough graves in Egypt, that you have to take us out here to die?”
Not the Authorized Version here, but that’s what it’s claimed to say. Seems to me, the tone resonates through the millennia. Hear a stand-up comedian delivering it.
My $0.02 cents’ worth, and worth most of it.
Great observations! There is one moment in the Jonah story that I think is triply humorous. Jonah says he worships Yahweh (he is running away disobediently, not what most call “worship”) who made the land and seas (he is running from the maker of the sea on a boat?! not too sharp, Jonah!) To cap it all off, we are told that Jonah had already told them that he was fleeing Yahweh, but he had not told them who Yahweh was, and so they had assumed that he was just one more guy on the run from some other guy.
That does make it funnier. And it makes sense he’d ship with some Phoenicians or somebody: where in the Bible does an Israelite go to sea, outside of this book?
(I can’t recall whether any of the Apostles sailed anywhere, but in any case I’m thinking of earlier times.)
Yeah, if he wanted to get away from the maker of lands and seas, he should have flown. Oops.
Paul traveled by ship on his journeys. Otherwise, Jonah is something of a rarity (unless you count smaller journeys on the Sea of Galilee in the Gospels).