Washington, April 4 (ANI): Scholars, pastors and bloggers are mulling over Jesus' sense of humour.
Robert Darden, associate professor of journalism at Baylor University and author of the book "Jesus Laughed: The Redemptive Power of Humor", said: "If we agree that Jesus was human and fully divine, he must have had a sense of humor. I've never met a human who didn't have a sense of humor."
From Scripture, Darden pointed out, we know that Jesus wept at least once - when he heard news that his friend Lazarus died - and got angry at least once, at the dishonest moneychangers at the temple.
Darden said: "I think He could be silly when He wanted to be, angry when He needed to be and everything in between."
However, scholars rarely suggest that Jesus used thigh-slapping jests in his ministry.
"Even when they do, their claims are frequently overstated," noted Dr. Bruce Longenecker, a Baylor professor of religion, who wrote the article A Humorous Jesus? Orality, Structure and Characterisation in Luke 14:15-24, and Beyond, which appeared in Biblical Interpretation: A Journal of Contemporary Approaches in 2008.
Those who compile anthologies of humour bypass Jesus and his followers - and with good reason, he stated. Texts about them deal with life-and-death matters.
Yes, Jesus told riddles and used wordplay, made points with hyperbole and irony - often at the expense of pompous Pharisees, which would have amused those who were not fond of the religious leaders.
Longenecker wrote: "But it is clear that they are not classics of comedy from one of the greatest wits of all time.
"They simply embody biting criticism by way of ridicule."
Some speculate that the humour may be lost because the context has changed in the modern world. Readers might not "get" inside jokes. And writers in gospel times did not use "LOLs" and emoticons. Then again, perhaps the debate continues because humour, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.
Darden's finds the coin-in-the-mouth fish tale is particularly funny.
He said: "Heck, Jesus could have pulled it (the coin) from behind someone's ear. But by using something silly like a fish to make a serious statement, Jesus makes every moment a teaching moment."
Rev. Brett Younger, associate professor of preaching at the McAfee School of Theology at Mercer University in Atlanta, said:
"I don't think Jesus was a stand-up comedian, but I think he used humor to make a point, and exaggeration was humorous.
"He doesn't do a lot of it, but it's significant." (ANI)