Sunday, September 19, 2010

Scholarly Comedy

Where are the best places to get a good laugh? Comedians obviously make a buck out of being funny, but sometimes the non-professional is great as well. Of course, what one may find funny is a matter of context and taste.

For example, DarkMatter2525 on YouTube has made a good number of entertaining atheist comedy videos which also have insights into religiosity. Funny, vulgar (very NSFW), and blasphemous. Perfect!

And even scholars can make good jokes on occasion. Here is an example I just came across. Stephen C. Carlson, "The Accommodations of Joseph and Mary in Bethlehem: Καταλυμα in Luke 2.7," New Testament Studies 56 (2010): 326-42 writes about the meaning of the term often translated as "inn" when talking about the birth of Jesus in Luke 2. He refers to a 16th century scholar named Francisco Sánchez de las Brozas or El Brocense who argued that the stable scene from nativity plays was not a proper representation of what the Gospels depict. He was called before the Spanish Inquisition, no laughing matter. He was reprimanded rather than imprisoned in the end, though he would later be called before the Inquisition but died before things got well underway.

In the end, Carlson argued that the term in its context meant that Mary and Joseph didn't have enough space for a new-born in the place they were staying, apparently a home of Joseph. I am not persuaded by the argument, especially supposing Joseph had a home in Bethlehem that he just left 40 days after getting there and leaving for Nazareth. Nonetheless, Carlson notes how scholarship has come a long way since the 16th century:

"Now, nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition."

That that made it into a paper shows either that editors have a sense of humor or things are going terribly wrong in theological circles. Oh, I mean other than there not actually being a God.

1 comment:

Kold_Kadavr_flatliner said...

Grrr. Git some FOLLOWERS, dude. You seem to be an atheist. Carl Sagan was, too. What'll happen when thy indelible soul rises-up outta thy deceased body to our General Judgment as does everyone? No matter if you believe or not, dude, you're gonna wanna croak (because now? in this time? when we don't have #@!! time for the elderly? you're gonna wanna croak). Better think summore. God bless you with discernment.