Laughter At The Foot Of The Cross

Paperback | April 15, 2015

byMichael A. Screech

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“Christian laughter is a maze: you could easily get snarled up within it.” So says Michael A. Screech in his note to readers preceding this collection of fifty-three elegant and pithy essays. As Screech reveals, the question of whether laughter is acceptable to the god of the Old and New Testaments is a dangerous one.

But we are fortunate in our guide: drawing on his immense knowledge of the classics and of humanists like Erasmus and Rabelais—who used Plato and Aristotle to interpret the Gospels—and incorporating the thoughts of Aesop, Calvin, Lucian of Samosata, Luther, Socrates, and others, Screech shows that Renaissance thinkers revived ancient ideas about what inspires laughter and whether it could ever truly be innocent. As Screech argues, in the minds of Renaissance scholars, laughter was to be taken very seriously. Indeed, in an era obsessed with heresy and reform, this most human of abilities was no laughing matter.

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From the Publisher

“Christian laughter is a maze: you could easily get snarled up within it.” So says Michael A. Screech in his note to readers preceding this collection of fifty-three elegant and pithy essays. As Screech reveals, the question of whether laughter is acceptable to the god of the Old and New Testaments is a dangerous one. But we are fortun...

Michael A. Screech is an emeritus fellow of All Souls College, Oxford. His scholarship has roots in University College London and the Warburg Institute. He is recognized as a world authority on the Renaissance, especially for his studies on Rabelais, Erasmus, and Montaigne, as well as on Clément Marot, Joachim Du Bellay, Renaissance la...
Format:PaperbackDimensions:352 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.9 inPublished:April 15, 2015Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022624511X

ISBN - 13:9780226245119

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“A splendid and exciting book, and a learned one. It takes the maxim that man is a laughing animal and enlarges it to encompass the concept that Christianity is a religion centred on laughter. . . . Laughter at the Foot of the Cross is a book that is historical in its thrust, philological at every step in its argument, and vigorously celebratory of the achievement of Erasmus and Rabelais both for their own times and for our own.”