Friday, February 11, 2011

Top 5 Funniest Theological/Biblical Works

Theology—God-talk—is often heavy, serious, and pretentious. Often too long-winded (Thomas’ Summa) and dry (Barth’s Church Dogmatics).

Yet occasionally there are some gems that cause a good laugh. Have you read something humorous and witty lately? I’d love to hear them.

Here is my list of top 5 funniest works by theologians and biblical scholars:

1. Stephen D. Moore, “Ugly Thought: On the Face and Physique of the Historical Jesus,” in Biblical Studies/Cultural Studies: The Third Sheffield Colloquium

Moore is a rare biblical scholar who has the skills to write fiction. He pokes fun at the covers of the books on the historical Jesus.

“Many of us have joined that manhunt for the Jew of Nazareth, many more of us cheering or yelling obscenities from the sidelines. Startled eyes turn as the hysterical Jesus suspects are dragged into the church by the triumphant band of scholars. To the dubious congregation in the pews, each Jesus seems more unlikely than the last. 'Did you at any time claim to be the Christ, the Son of the living God?' each is asked in turn. 'I did not,' most of them reply.”

2. Gale A. Yee, “‘Oooooh, Onan!’: Geschlechtsgeschicte and Women in the Biblical World,” in Are We Amused? Humour About Women in the Biblical World

This one is rated PG-13—parents strongly cautioned, lest you have to explain to your child what did Onan do.

To avoid onanism, one conservative pundit instructs:
1. Never touch the intimate parts of your body excerpt during normal toilet processes.
2. Avoid being alone as much as possible.
3. Wear pajamas that are difficult to open, yet loose and not binding.
4. In very severe cases, it may be necessary to tie a hand to the bed frame.

3. Marcella Althaus-Reid, Indecent Theology

She would surely win the Most Daring Theologian Award, if there were one. For her the greatest sin of a theologian is to be dull.

She creates a whole new vocabulary for theology: the G-spot, French kissing God, Bi/Christ, dis-grace, queer God, and the like. She invites us to lift up the skirt of Jesus and see what is there.

4. Mary Daly, Pure Lust

Arguably the most witty and sharp-tongued feminist philosopher. Her ability to make fun of Christian symbols, doctrines, and the church was legendary.

Vice [from the Latin vitis, vine], then, can Name the characteristic spiral pattern of biophilic movement, of growth.”

“Thus lust is pure in the sense that it is characterized by unmitigated malevolence. It is pure in the sense that it is ontologically evil.”

5. Anne Lamott, Traveling Mercies
I know, I know, she is not a theologian. Don’t be a snob. Isn’t she funny?

“looking back on the God my friend believed in, he seems a little erratic, not entirely unlike her father—God as borderline personality.”

Now, please help to make the list up to 10, or more.


  1. This is fabulous! Thank you and I'm glad I found your blog via a Facebook friend!

  2. I nominate Lamb, by Christopher Moore!

  3. Great series so far, but I gotta protest Aquinas and Anselm being so low–unless you’re including Biblical authors (which is cheating ).

    Cathy Walker
    Marketing Course

  4. Theological studies is the overarching stuff that comes up with doctrines, that affects how we live; yes. But primarily affects how we look at scripture. What we mean when we say God, etc.?

    Air Conditioning Repair Franklin

  5. Onan, of course, didn't do what we think he did...

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