Are there any jokes in the Bible?

RE: TSD Column “Are there any jokes in the Bible?

According to FFRF’s Dan Barker in a recent Harvard debate with nutter Dinesh D’Souza:

It seems silly to us today, but to the Jews, circumcision was no laughing matter. Huge sections of the Hebrew scriptures are devoted to that covenant of the “chosen people.” But when Christianity came along, maybe it did become a laughing matter—Paul actually made a crude joke about it. The Greek word for “circumcision” is peritome, which means “to cut around.” The Greek word katatome means “to cut off.” In Galatians 5:11–12, Paul plays on the pun: “And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision (peritome), why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased. I would they were even cut off (katatome) which trouble you.” The more candid New Revised Standard translates it: “I wish those who unsettle you would castrate themselves!”

[del]Ed[/del] Cecil speaks:

Psst, click his first link.

The Parable of the Unjust Steward certainly seems to be meant as a joke. In The Man Born to be King, Dorothy L. Sayers makes it a bit clearer by having Jesus give it with the punch line, “Friend, you’re a thorough scoundrel – but I do admire your thoroughness!” (The point of the parable, of course, is that it would be nice if, once in a while, the good guys would put as much hard work into being good as the bad guys put into being bad.)

Sayers remarks elsewhere, in fact, that if we really thought of Jesus as a “really real” person, rather than as a vague, inhuman ειδωλον even more misty than George Washington, we would regard Him as one of the greatest wits of all time, for no one else is “credited with such an output of epigram in three short years.”

arguably, when Christ calls Peter ‘the rock on which I will build my church’ he makes a pun on petros [rock]. In Greek anyway - might not have worked in Aramaic.

I always kinda figured “Peter” in that time and place was more or less equivalent to “Rocky”.

“Cephas”, and it does. It appears that “Cephas”/“Petros”/“Peter” was his nickname – “Rocky”, if you like.

It’s not really a pun, though, since that’s the first place that anybody calls Simon that. There’s no secondary meaning to hang on to, just the primary meaning “You’re a rock, so I’m going to call you Rocky”.

Well, the whole bible is a joke.
However, one can always ask two questions.

  1. What is the first mention of baseball in the bible? “In the beginning…(big inning)”
  2. What is the first mention of motorcycles in the bible? “And the sound of Joshua’s Triumph was heard throughout the land…”

I dunno if it’s humor as such, but we all got to admit that the bit about creating people as male and female was the setup for a lot of funny business ever since.

I always found this humorous:

Matthew 5:22 (NIV) Jesus says: “But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.”

Then a some chapters later (23:17) Jesus tells a group: “You blind fools!” :o

That poor thief: “Today you will be with me in paradise.” Indeed.

Every single word.

“You, blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel” (Matt. 23:24).

This is word play: in the original Aramaic “gnat” and “camel” are very similar sounds.

Much of Proverbs is amusing in a wry but wise way. Imitate Fyvush Finkel or Rabbi Krustofski as you read it.

There’s also just plain slapstick in the bible. In I Samuel 17:38 - 39, young David is going to fight the giant Goliath. King Saul says, you can’t go out in your shepherd’s clothes and gives David his armor and a helmet for protection; David puts them on, and they’re so heavy, he falls over.

Cecil mentions the odd incidents in 1st Samuel. the word used in KJV is emerod, which Cecil doesn’t specifically mention, but says can be given as tumor or hemorrhoid, depending on your translation preference.

I suspect “emerod” is simply “hemorrhoid” in the language of the time of the KJV, but an acquaintance is quite adamant that it cannot be.

There being nothing “dirty” in the Bible, of course.

:rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

I’d like to know the Straight on this, being no Dope. I could have started a whole new thread for this and linked it, but it seems silly just to ask this one question.

  • “Jack”

John 1:43-50 contains a series of bantering lines between Jesus and two disciples:

43The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.”

44Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. 45Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”

46"Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?" Nathanael asked.
“Come and see,” said Philip.

47When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false.”

48"How do you know me?" Nathanael asked.
Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.”

49Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.”

50Jesus said, “You believe[k] because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You shall see greater things than that.”
Philip goes to tell his buddy, Nathanael about Jesus, tells him he’s the Messiah and that he’s from Nazareth.

Nathanael says “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” (a podunk, Galilean town of no consequence).

When Jesus sees them coming, he says, “hey, here’s a true Israelite – no bullshit in this guy.”

Nathanael says, “how do you know me?”

Jesus says, “I saw you sitting under a fig tree once.”

Nathanael says, “Truly you are the Son of God and the true King of Israel.”

Jesus says, “Because I told you I saw you sitting under a fig tree you think I’m the son of God? Stick around kid, you’ll see better shit than that.”

Diogenes: I think your example occurs as an appendix to the Column cited in the OP. There’s little or no need to repeat ourselves; history does that, we needn’t. :wink:

Sorry, i skimmed through the column but I somehow missed that the fig tree story was at the bottom. My bad.

Twice in – 2 Samuel, I think – a Hebrew idiom for “man-as-opposed-to-woman”, is literally translated by King James’ men: “one that pisseth against the wall”.