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[John_Lit] Re: Humor/Irony in the Fourth Gospel

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  • Thatcher, Tom
    Charles et. al., You raise an interesting point which I have spent a lot of time with because I have been doing research for several years on riddles in FG.
    Message 1 of 3 , Nov 8, 1999
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      Charles et. al.,

      You raise an interesting point which I have spent a lot of time with because
      I have been doing research for several years on "riddles" in FG. Both of
      the episodes you mention involve the use of riddles. I am personally
      doubtful, however, that these would function primarily for "humor" in FG,
      because most of them highlight the ironic ignorance which various people
      have of Jesus' true identity. Aside from the book by Duke that Julian
      mentioned, there is also Culpepper's <<Anatomy of the Fourth Gospel>> and
      Gail O'Day's <<Revelation in the Fourth Gospel>>, the latter of which has a
      very long study of the Samaritan Woman. More recent studies have tended to
      focus on the darker aspects of FG's irony: Stephen Moore's
      <<Poststructuralism and the NT>>, Jeff Staley's <<Reading with a Passion>>,
      also I (Tom Thatcher) have an article coming out early next year in JSNT on
      the subject. In most cases the view would be that John's irony is "funny"
      in the sense that it invites the reader to make fun of some ignorant
      character in order to stress the point that "the world did not recognize
      him."

      But I'm sure others have thoughts as well.

      Respectfully,
      --tom

      "The Truth Will Set You Free"
      tom thatcher
      cbs&s
      (513) 244-8172
    • Felix Just, S.J.
      ... I ve never thought of John 9 as being humorous or comic , esp. since the consequences seem so dire (9:22 - anyone who confessed [Jesus] to be the
      Message 2 of 3 , Nov 11, 1999
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        Charles Starkey <CStarWrk@...> wrote:

        > The story of the man who was born blind reminds me a situation comedy.

        > Do others recognize humor in other parts of the fourth gospel?

        I've never thought of John 9 as being "humorous" or "comic", esp. since the consequences seem so dire (9:22 - "anyone who confessed
        [Jesus] to be the Christ would be put out of the synagogue"; 9:34 - "they drove him out"; 9:41 - "your sin remains"; etc.). Certainly
        there is lots of irony and pathos, but is it the type of thing that would make anyone laugh or even chuckle? Or how broadly do you want
        to define "humor"?

        Moreover, the most humorous parts of the Synoptics seem to be omitted by John (e.g. Peter's attempt at walking on water). The closest
        thing in John might be the footrace between Peter and the B.D. in John 20:3-4, or Peter putting some clothes ON before jumping into the
        water in John 21:7. But would even these have been considered funny by any first-century readers?


        > Can someone point me to a more recent bibliography?

        In addition to the books already mentioned by Julian and Tom, there is also an article by Doris E. Myers, "Irony and Humor in the Gospel
        of John," OPTAT 2.2 (1988) 1-13, but I don't recall what she claims there. Maybe Tom or someone else has read it more recently?

        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
        Felix Just, S.J. -- Dept. of Theological Studies
        Loyola Marymount University -- 7900 Loyola Blvd.
        Los Angeles, CA 90045-8400 -- (310) 338-5933
        Website -- http://clawww.lmu.edu/~fjust
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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