Humor has had a profound effect on the way the Jewish people see the world, and has sustained them through millennia of hardships and suffering. God Laughed reviews, organizes, and categorizes the humor of the ancient Jewish textsthe Hebrew Bible, the Talmud, and Midrashin a clear, readable, and accessible manner.
These works have influenced the Jewish people in many ways, and all are replete with humor and wit. Inevitably, this oeuvre of Jewish humor has itself influenced generations of comics, as well as genres of humor. The authors use examples of Biblical humor from several broad categories, including irony, sarcasm, wordplay, humorous names, humorous imagery, and humorous situations.
Because their primary purpose is not to entertain, but to teach humanity how to live the ideal life, much of the humor in the Talmud and the Midrash has a single purpose: to demonstrate that evil is wrong and even, at times, ludicrous. This may help explain why approximately 1,500 years after its closing, the Talmud is still such a fascinating work. God Laughed is the latest addition to Transaction's Jewish Studies series.
About the Author
Hershey H. Friedman is professor of business and director of business programs at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York.
Linda Weiser Friedman is professor of statistics and computer information systems at Baruch College’s Zicklin School of Business and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.
Table of Contents
Part I: Introduction
1 Studying Jewish Humor2 A Word on the Sources: Biblical, Talmudic, and Midrashic Literature
Part II: Heavenly Humor
3 Does God Have a Sense of Humor?4 Biblical Humor: From Irony, Sarcasm, Wordplay to Humorous Imagery5 No Match for God: Satan as Trickster
Part III: Humor in the Talmud and Midrash
6 Humor in the Talmud and Midrash: An Overview7 Recurring Characters and Themes8 Satire, Irony, and Self-Deprecating Humor9 Sarcasm10 Exaggerated Imagery and Other Hyperbole11 Wordplay: Puns, Acrostics, and Riddles12 Humorous Sayings and Remarks13 Allegories, Parables, and Fables14 Talmudic Tales15 Humorous Cases and Other Absurdities
Part IV Conclusion
16 Is There a "Jewish" Sense of Humor?
Appendixes Appendix A: Important Dates In Jewish History Appendix B: The Time Periods of the Talmudic Sages Appendix C: The Sages and Their Generations Appendix D: Classic Commentators Appendix E: Mostly Punch Lines, an Index of Jokes