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Laughter At The Foot Of The Cross
by M.A. Screech
At the foot of the Cross, as Jesus hung in agony, the crowd laughed. Christians, ever since, have been ambivalent about laughter. St. Paul banned 'jesting,' but did that include mockery and high spirits? And what were the lessons of Biblical figures like (delighted) Abraham and (disbelieving) Sarah, both in their nineties, who laughed at the news they were about to have a ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published August 12th 1999 by Westview Press
(first published January 29th 1998)
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Amazing range of scholarship on display here, but it is displayed sort of the way it might be over at the crazy cat lady's house. The architectonics of the book are non-existent, but the staggering amount of things that Screech knows about his subject more than makes up for it. I learned a tremendous amount about Erasmus and Rabelais.
Screech's book is not a complete argument, but a series of probings into the nature of Christian laughter as understood by Erasmus and Rabelais as they reflect on the classical and Christian tradition behind them. The place of laughter in Christian thought has been disputed, because Christ was never seen as laughing in the gospels and because God's laughter in Psalm 2 (directed to the rebellious nations) is one of derision and contempt. Paul called Christians fools and noted they were seen as ma ...more
Rev Professor Michael Andrew Screech is an emeritus fellow of All Souls College, Oxford. In 1992, he was honored as a Chevalier in the French Legion of Honor, in recognition of his translations of Montaigne's Essays.More about M.A. Screech...