Humour in the Bible: book 23: Isaiah: tragic humour

Hut in a field on the Thai-Burma border (photo by Tim Bulkeley)

At last, I’m on the home straight, the first of the prophets ๐Ÿ™‚ The prophetic books are packed with humour. But right at the start we’ll need to get one thing clear. Humour is not just the comic, entertainment that promotes a giggle or a smile. There is humour also in tragedy, at times when “you either have to laugh or cry” and those when the sharp scalpel of cutting wit is needed to cut through defenses.

I’ll try to explain this idea of tragic (as well as comic) humour in exploring Isaiah 1, and will also argue that in this passage (at least in Isaiah 1:8ff) all but two of the “signs of humour” we have been working with are present. One that isn’t is “lighthearted mood” but you’d hardly expect that if there is such a thing as “tragic humour”, as I am claiming.

So, listen to the podcast and tell me if YOU think that tragic humour exists, and if I’ve rightly named it!