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 texts the Hebrew Bible, the Talmud, and Midrash in 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.
Table of Contents
Part I: Introduction
1 Studying Jewish Humor
2 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 Imagery
5 No Match for God: Satan as Trickster
Part III: Humor in the Talmud and Midrash
6 Humor in the Talmud and Midrash: An Overview
7 Recurring Characters and Themes
8 Satire, Irony, and Self-Deprecating Humor
10 Exaggerated Imagery and Other Hyperbole
11 Wordplay: Puns, Acrostics, and Riddles
12 Humorous Sayings and Remarks
13 Allegories, Parables, and Fables
14 Talmudic Tales
15 Humorous Cases and Other Absurdities
Part IV Conclusion
16 Is There a "Jewish" Sense of Humor?
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