Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Something I'd known for a while,

but it can never hurt to be reminded:

Scholars say the Old and New Testament are riddled with humorous references and aim to set the record straight at a three-day congress, "Laughter and Comedy in Ancient Christianity," that began Monday.

There's the tale from Luke's Gospel about Zaccheus, a diminutive and despised tax collector who, eager to see Jesus at a busy gathering, is forced into the attention-grabbing indignity of scrambling up a tree.

Or the patriarch Isaac, whose name comes from the Hebrew word for laughter because of the joy and disbelief his birth brought to his aging parents Abraham and Sarah.

These witticisms may not have modern readers rolling on the floor. But scholars of Christian literature and theology at the conference in Turin, Italy, insist the books of the Bible are riddled with humor and clever wordplay.

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