Humour and Religion Challenges and Ambiguities

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2013-05-01
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
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Humour and Religion highlights the importance and functioning of humour in different world religions. Exploring the major religious cultures, the book looks at more constructive aspects to the relation between humour and religion, with humour seen as a pathway to spiritual wisdom.
Exploring how religions contain (implicit) references to the finitude and relativity of the human condition, and why humour and spirituality fit well together, contributors discuss what the meaning of humour in different religions is - Did it evolve historically? How does it function? How is humour related to the realization of spiritual goals?
Looking at religions from an external perspective, the contributors then analyze the way religion interacts with humour in society. How does a religion respond to sarcasm and irony? Are there limits to mockery and making fun of believers? Does humour have a pacifying effect when societal tensions run high or does it intensify the sensitivities?
This volume will provide essays of value to scholars in the various religions and literatures covered.

Author Biography

Hans Geybels is Associate Professor at the Department of Pastoral Theology in the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium.
Walter Van Herck is Associate Professor of Philosophy of Religion at the University of Antwerp, Belgium.

Table of Contents

Preface \ Part I: Religious Laughter \ 1. The Redemptive Power of Humor in Religion. An Introductory Overview, Hans Geybels (Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium) \ 2. Humor as Practical Wisdom, Johan Taels (University of Antwerp, Belgium)\ 3. Humor in Hinduism, Koenraad Elst (Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium) \ 4. Laughing Priests in the Atsuta Shrine Festival, Elaine Gerbert (University of Kansas, USA) \ 5. Humor on Religion in the Greco-Roman World, Paul Schulten (Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands) \ 6. Transferring Aristophanes' Religious Registers in Modern Greek and English Versions, Vicky Manteli (University of Peloponnese, Greece) \ 7. Jewish Humor, Ludo Abicht (University of Antwerp, Belguim) \ 8. Why Did Ancient Gods Laugh? Humor in the History of Religions, Ingvild Saelid Gilhus (University of Bergen, Norway) \ 9. Homo Byzantinus Ridens: Humor in Byzantinium, Przemyslaw Marciniak (University of Silesia, Katowice, Poland) \ 10. Being Serious about Laughter: The Case of Medieval Biblical Plays, Jolanta Rzegocka (Tischner European University, Poland) \ 11. The Muslim Sense of Humor, Ulrich Marzolph (Georg-Augustu University, Gottingen, Germany) \ Part II: Laughing at Religion \ 12. Humor, Religion and Society. An Introduction, Walter Van Herck (University of Antwerp, Belgium) \ 13. To Laugh at God? Iconic History of the Limits Not to Be Passed, François Boespflug (University of Strasbourg, France) \ 14. The Fool and the Path to Spiritual Insight, Jessica Milner Davis (University of Sydney, Australia) \ 15. Humor, Religion, and Politics in Greek Cartoons: Symbiosis or Conflict? Villy Tsakona (University of Iannina and the University of Patras, Greece) \ Conclusion \ Bibliography \ Index

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