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Biblical Humor

  • By: John Morreall
  • In: Encyclopedia of Humor Studies
  • Edited by: Salvatore Attardo
  • Subject:General Media, Communication & Cultural Studies, Sociology of Culture

Is there humor in the Bible? If so, how much? Those questions seem simple, but there are widely divergent answers. Hershey Friedman (2000) says that humor permeates the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and presents over a hundred examples to prove it. Elton Trueblood and others find humor in the sayings of Jesus. Alfred North Whitehead and others, however, have said that there is no humor in the Bible. This article examines both sides of the debate.

Biblos is the Greek word for “book,” but the Bible is not a single book. It is a collection of dozens of texts written in different centuries for different purposes and different audiences. According to a standard count, there are 39 books in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and 27 ...

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