THE HUMOR OF CHRIST by D. Elton Trueblood


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Believing that neglect of the element of humor in the teachings of Jesus has led to failure to appreciate the full scope of his teaching and to an unduly somber piety, the author analyzes what he finds as the humorous vein in the Gospels, particularly the Synoptics, with especial emphasis upon Christ's use of irony. He shows how humor is employed in controversy, in parables, and in short dialogues. It is taken for granted that the identification of the element of humor in Christ's teaching adds significance to it, but the image of Christ as humorous would seem, at times, to be modelled more after Socrates than according to the total Gospel portrait. At times, the author would appear to be reading his own sense of humor into the record, e.g., Jesus's ""banter"" with the woman at the Samaritan well, or the ""nicknaming"" of Peter as ""Rocky"". The relation of humor to the tragic is touched upon, but the author fails to relate his thesis adequately to the crucifixion, or to develop thoroughly the pathos resulting-- as in Lincoln--from the close affinity of humor with suffering. The general theological attitude of the book would seem to draw from the liberalism of the preceding generation. Trueblood's name will carry this father than its thesis might indicate.

Pub Date: Feb. 11th, 1964
Publisher: Harper & Row