Christ Asleep During the Tempest | Eugène Delacroix, 1853

Teaching with Humor

Most modern Christian scholarship came out of crusty boring German Protestant universities in the 1800s. None of these people had any sense of humor. One reason for the lack of humor in German may be that the language makes it extremely hard to say anything ambiguous.

In contrast, Judaism often uses humor to teach. From Balaam’s donkey to the teaching of Hillel, humor is working everywhere. Humor denial is one of the problems with Christian scholarship, because it cannot imagine that the Evangelists would insert funny parts into their Gospel to keep everyone awake or to break the tension. This is not surprising, because the Evangelists were Jews.

Almost all of the humor in the Gospels makes fun of the disciples. This is as it should be, because when used against others, humor can be cruel. However, since the Gospels are based primarily on the testimony of the disciples, they had no problem making fun of themselves.

Can you spot any of the humor in the Gospels? Let us know! 

Image: Christ Asleep During the Tempest | Eugène Delacroix, 1853.
Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Back to blog