This book presents a collection of essays that shows that Renaissance thinkers revived ancient ideas about what inspires laughter and whether it could ever truly be innocent. It reveals the question of whether laughter is acceptable to the God of the Old and New Testaments is a dangerous one.
1. Laughter is the Property of Man 2. Laughter in an Evil World 3. Christian Humanists 4. Jewish and Gentile 'Schoolmasters' 5. The Mocking of the Crucified King 6. The Old Testament Gospel 7. Words and their Meanings 8. The Mocking of Christ in the Old Testament 9. Unholy Railing 10. Good Holy Railing 11. Diasyrm 12. A God who Laughs to Scorn 13. Erasmus on Diasyrm 14. The Laughter of Jesus and the Laughter of the Father in the New Testament 15. More Irony from Jesus 16. Pitiless Laughter at Ugliness 17. Ignorance or Madness? The Importance of a Gamma 18. Madman Laughs at Madman 19. Laughing at Christ and Laughing at Carabba 20. Laughing Back 21. Christ as Divine Madman 22. Madness Providentially Feigned by David: A Silenus 23. Theophylact and a Lunatic's Chains 24. Laughing with the Great Cardinal of Saint-Cher 25. Jesus in Ecstatic Madness 26. Lessons in Exegesis 27. Plato and Christian Madness 28. Drunk with God and Drunk with Wine 29. Christ's Mad Disciples: Erotic Madness 30. The Philosophy of Christ 31. The Foolishness of God 32. Socrates 33. Christian Laughter all but Nipped in the Bud: Eutrapely Condemned 34. The Gospel according to Lucian: Christianity is once again Stupid and Mad 35. Lucian in the Pulpit 36. A Taste of Lucianic Laughter in the Colloquies 37. Laughter in the Annotations 38. He who Calleth his Brother a Fool 39. Fools in Cap-and-Bells? 40. Caps and Bells Sneak In 41. Obscure Men 42. Dutch Wit, Gallic Licence and the Liturgical Year 43. Christian Wit and Christian Comedy: 'The Great Jester of France' 44. Christian Laughter at Shrovetide 45. Seeking for Signs 46. Christian Laughter for Faithful Folk 47. Laughter at the Philosophy of Christ 48. God's Coadjutors: Deed and Words and Christian Laughter 49. Laughing at Idolatry 50. Laughter and Christian Mythology 51. Gluttony 52. Realist Laughter: Laughter and Eternity 53. Charity and Joy