The Humor of Christ: A Bold Challenge to the Traditional Stereotype of a Somber, Gloomy Christ By Elton Trueblood


Oddly, this book has the best description of Pharisees that I have ever read. I was impressed. 0060686324 I enjoy Trueblood’s work. This book is good but it takes fortitude to stick with. His points of Jesus’ humor are well articulated and founded.

It’s a bit of a struggle because we tend to think of Christ being “above” humor. 0060686324 I read an autographed copy given to me by my parents. This book was like listening to someone explain a joke that you didn't get, not very fun, but it explores an aspect of Jesus' ministry that apparently was prominent, but we tend to ignore. It will make me view the gospels differently. 0060686324 Although this is a fairly short book, it wasn't the easiest read. But like other reviewers have stated, I'm glad I finished it. The author sought to show Christ's humor which is often lost in Christendom these days. Overall, I think the author succeeded in his objective. There were a couple of places where I thought the author read humor into stories and the words of Christ where it wasn't present but at the same time, he did open my eyes to see Christ's humor in places I had missed. Jesus did use humor more than many today probably realize. I also appreciated the many insights the author offered about the nature of humor and its importance in life. 3 stars! 0060686324 This is such a fantastic book. It is so solid in the theological approach. At the end of it, I wanted more examples of Christ's humor, but the quotes and thoroughness with which Trueblood addresses the subject with more than makes up for what I wanted. I highly recommend this read. 0060686324

This book was hard work at first. The style of writing appears, ironically, rather dry and academic for a book of this title, and uses language from the early 60s which today appears archaic. But if you can get past that, it is well worth persevering, as Trueblood shows real insight, vigorous scholarship and asks many pertinent and appropriate questions on some of the most difficult passages about Christ found in the Gospels. His line of enquiry yields rather abundant fruit, in terms of throwing up hyptheses that suggest on many occasions what is more likely is that Christ engaged in banter with his listeners, shedding new light on passages that were dourly interpreted via a humorless, literal approach, as is so often found in churches and religious circles.
There is so much nuance and intonation so often completely missed by religious scholars and preachers, who seem to imagine Christ as a constantly dour High Priest who seldom, if ever, smiled or laughed. Trueblood's investigation reveals that this was most likely very far from the case, but Christ showed a form of banter which is consistent with deep compassion, as in the case of His encounter with the Syrophoenician woman when he said It is not fair to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs.
Passages are looked at in context, with preceeding and following stories told and events analysed to draw out the true meaning of what Christ said. One example is when Christ says use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings (Luke 16:9), a notoriously difficult passage to understand for many. He sets this in context with the following statement You cannot serve both God and mammon. (Luke 16:12-13), a contrastingly uncompromising message. Insightfully he remarks, If the paradox is seriously intended, it is unbearable, but if it has a humorous intent, it makes the teaching all the more vivid..
Trueblood correctly approaches this topic not from the viewpoint of seeking examples of Christ acting as some sort of comedian or entertainer (or twisting passages to make it seem so), but from searching for a deeper type of wit and irony that only the Son of God, the Master of Humour, could so effectively employ in his fully Divine yet fully human form - and he does so with considerable success. 0060686324 Here is another book I rescued from a stack of donations to the SPU Library that were on their way to be discarded or destroyed (and before anyone protests, this is usually done only because one or more copies of the donated book are already held in SPU's general collection). I grabbed this slim volume from the stack because it was free, because the title intrigued me and because I recognized the author, Elton Trueblood, as a well-known 20th century Quaker theologian.

Although I enjoyed the book, I did not find it particularly profound. Trueblood's stated goal is to get Christians moving away from the notion that the historical figure of Jesus was a somber, gloomy figure focused on carefully creating a new orthodoxy. He calls the humor of Christ a neglected aspect of his human incarnation. Perhaps this gloomy, serious Jesus was a significant obstacle in 1964 when this book was first published - and perhaps it still is a problem in some circles. But since those that I associate with do not make this error, I found Trueblood's points easily won and not hard to defense; he is preaching to the choir.

Trueblood does walk through a number of examples of Jesus' use of humor, pointing out irony, satire and ridicule. This is all very credible and helpful, especially to those who have not perhaps considered in full how funny Jesus really was. The most helpful thing for me personally was Trueblood's alternate explanations for a couple of parables that have troubled translators and scholars for many years (e.g. the parable of the unjust steward). Trueblood shows that many of the theological problems with these parables are cleared up if we begin with the assumption that Jesus was joking - and he goes on to suggest why there may be textual and contextual evidence for such an explanation.

My biggest criticism of this book is that it is not very funny. That may sound strange when critiquing a piece of theological scholarship, but to my way of thinking, if you're going to write about God being a funny guy, perhaps you should consider lightening up a little yourself. A few wry asides or author's examples of humor in his own faith-walk might have added some emotional heft to his intellectual argument.

Nonetheless, this book is clear, lucid and somewhat interesting. It is not perhaps as ground-breaking as it once was nor as funny as it could (should?) have been. 0060686324 Elton Trueblood has tackled a difficult, neglected, but vital topic for understanding the Bible in general and Jesus in particular. Humor does not always survive intact from one culture to another. When you’re pouring over a printed text translated from an ancient dialect, enshrined as Sacred Scripture, the chances of ever getting the punch line are slim indeed. Small wonder that so many people are left with the impression that the Bible is a dull, humorless book, and that Jesus is a dull, humorless man.

Trueblood knows a different Jesus—one who often had a wry smile and a twinkle in his eye, one who laughed out loud with full-hearted, infectious laughter, who got invited to parties, who was the life of the party, who joked with his friends and lampooned his adversaries, inviting us all to laugh at ourselves—at the way we take ourselves so seriously. 0060686324 I was really excited to read this book when I discovered it at our church library. Being a rather jokey person myself, I tend to see the humor in the Bible more than the average Joe, so I enjoyed finding someone who agreed with me and had done a lot of research. It reads something like a long essay, split into chapters, but was still very interesting and easy to read, when I wasn't distracted. What I found best about the book was that it made Jesus seem more like a real person, not just an idea floating around out there. He was real. He is real. And he's got a vibrant sense of humor. 0060686324 It took me a while to get through this book because it's very scholarly, but I'm glad I read it. It's an analysis of Jesus' wit and humor in the Gospels. Like the author, I feel that this side of His personality (for lack of a better word) is seriously under-studied. The prevailing attitude is that every word Jesus said was completely serious and intense, and that just isn't the case! It's encouraging to be reminded that He laughed too. 0060686324

The Humor of Christ inspires Christians to redraw their pictures of Christ and to add a persistent biblical detail, the note of humor. Throughout the Gospels, Christ employed humor for the sake of truth and many of his teachings, when seen in this light, become brilliantly clear for the first time. Irony, satire, paradox, even laughter itself help clarify Christ's famous parables, His brief sayings, and important events in His life. In a valuable appendix 30 humorous Gospel passages are listed for further study. The Humor of Christ: A Bold Challenge to the Traditional Stereotype of a Somber, Gloomy Christ

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