Augsburg Fortress

The Bible and the Comic Vision

The Bible and the Comic Vision

This insightful work examines the variety of ways comedy is employed in the Old Testament. Biblical comedy unveils "a comic vision that oscillates between attack and affirmation, corrective and celebration, ridicule and revel." Here Whedbee reveals the subtle uses of parody and satire to subversive effect in six biblical books. But "the Bible characteristically does not stop with subversion, for the texts usually drive on toward an affirmation of life and a celebration of the wonder and hopefulness of creation.... In sum, subversion and celebration typically belong together in a comprehensive view of biblical comedy: subversion often serving to undercut and clear away obstacles to the realization of fertility and forgiveness; and celebration finding expression in festivals of freedom and hope."
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  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9780800634865
  • Dimensions 5.5 x 8.5
  • Pages 328
  • Publication Date June 28, 2002


Excerpt from a Review of The Bible and the Comic Vision

"Oft-read texts gain dimension and depth when read in new contexts. Whedbee offers just such an experience in his readings of segments from the Hebrew Bible in light of the comic vision.... He demonstrates that aspects of the comic, taken in the expansive and encompassing definition he gives it, shape a variety of texts in the Hebrew Bible. Especially significant are his suggestions about 'the dual faces' of comedy, that it functions both to attack and affirm, ridicule and revel, correct and celebrate.... Whedbee takes us significantly forward toward realizing [the] potential [of the Bible's comic and tragic visions]."
– W. Lee Humphreys, Review of Biblical Literature

Table of Contents

    Introduction: An Anatomy of Comedy in the Bible

    PART I: The Genesis of Comedy – The Comedy of Genesis
  1. The Comedy of Creation (Genesis 1–11)
  2. Domestic Comedy in the Household of Faith (Genesis 12–50)

    PART II: Biblical Texts and the Drive to Comic Regeneration
  3. Exodus and Esther as Comedies of Deliverance
  4. Jonah as a Comedy of Contradiction, Caricature, and Compassion
  5. The Comedy of Job: Creation, Chaos, and Carnival
  6. Paradox and Parody in the Song of Solomon
  7. A Comprehensive View of Biblical Comedy

    Index of Authors
    Index of Biblical References
    Index of Topics