Flatulence before Flagellants: Martin Luther's Pedagogical Use of Humor

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[This was originally presented as a paper, at the AAR-Rocky Mountains/Great Plains Region Meeting on March 28, 2008]

“But I resist the devil, and often it is with a fart that I chase him away. When he tempts me with silly sins I say, ‘Devil, yesterday I broke wind too. Have you written it down on your list?’”[1] This quotation from Martin Luther (1483-1546) represents a response to anfechtung (roughly translated spiritual anxiety) that differs from his prior method: self-flagellation. There are many others like it, for Luther employed humor in his interaction with students at Wittenberg, correspondence with friends, and household conversation. His irreverent ethos is evident in a letter to his friend Jerome Weller:

Sometimes we must drink more, sport, recreate ourselves, aye, and even sin a little to spite the devil, so that we leave him no place for troubling our consciences .... What other cause do you think that I have for drinking so much strong drink, talking so freely and making merry so often, except that I wish to mock and harass the devil who is wont to mock and harass me. [2]

Despite the historiography of older, occasionally pietistic scholarship, Luther’s pedagogical use of humor was intentional, effective, and crucial for communicating his theology of the cross.

Applying Theoretical Concepts of Humor to Luther’s Theology

Eric Gritsch’s The Wit of Martin Luther (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2006) and prior studies on the subject[3] fail to engage theoretical perspectives on humor, and do little to distinguish comedic types within the reformer’s writings. This isn’t to ignore the value of Gritch’s work, which rightly avoids reducing Luther’s wit to a symptom of his neuroses, as was the approach of Erik Erickson’s Young Man Luther: A Study in Psychoanalysis and History (W. W. Norton & Company, 1993; originally 1958). Gritsch rightly shows how Luther used humor to attack intellectual and ecclesiastical tyrants, to provide an eschatological response to the terrors of life, and to reflect the paradoxes of a simultaneously saintly and sinful existence. Despite the helpful insights of Gritsch’ study, which one reviewer describes as juxtaposing “scatology and eschatology,”[4] the connection between humor and Luther’s theological method remains insufficiently understood.

Satisfactory explanations of humor are rare and even ridiculous in their strained attempts to describe spontaneous joy. Nonetheless, most scholars appropriate one of three models. The first is the superiority model, associated with Thomas Hobbes, whereby one defines humor as the phenomenon of suddenly and gleefully viewing someone or something as inferior. The second is the incongruity model, associated with Kant and Kierkegaard, whereby two related but inconsistent realities are juxtaposed. The third is the relief model, associated with Freud, which considers humor a way to release repressed psychic energy. Seeing these models as mutually exclusive options is unnecessary, and bound to an archaic, essentialist metaphysic. Thus, I will treat them not as competing theories, but as models that make sense of different comedic forms.

Luther’s counter-hegemonic use of humor employs the superiority model, since it inverts ecclesiastical hierarchy. He invites his students to stand with him and peer down at a lower level of the world in which bishops, scholastics, and donkeys wallow in their own feces. Superiority humor can make a marginalized individual or community the butt of its jokes, but it can also work for liberating purposes. Thus the reformer qua reformer uses humor to break the intellectual domination of those who claim to hold the keys to heaven and hell. If we stop here, however, we risk being bogged down by the many cases of Luther’s coarse jesting that serve to ridicule polemic opponents. Modern readers of Luther’s counter-hegemonic humor often perceive it as more crude than comedic. For instance, if my historical theology students laugh when reading Luther’s comparison of papal pronouncements to buttocks playing a harp, it is primarily because they are startled to find an evangelical saint speaking this way, not because they are delighted to witness the subversion of the papacy. Pedagogically then, the main achievement of Luther’s superiority humor is its ability to break the power of religious authorities and make space within the academy for intellectual play.

Relief humor occurs during Luther’s personal anfechtung, or when counseling others in such a state. It provides psychic release for Protestants still struggling with a sense of guilt that was allegedly instilled through the penitential system.[5] It serves to help students experience the gospel as release from condemnation, and thus is an important aspect of Luther’s academic ethos.

The most important comic form for Luther is incongruity humor, since it enables him to convey both theodicy and cruciform theology. The former relates to what Lutheran sociologist Peter Berger outlines in Redeeming Laughter: The Comic Dimension of Human Experience (New York: Walter de Gruyter, 1997). Berger sees in humor a “sign of transcendence,” whereby an individual is able to look beyond immediate instances of suffering. For Berger, as long as we “can still laugh at [ourselves], [our] alienation from the enchanted gardens of earlier times will not be complete;” humor allows us to bear suffering through a hope that those enchanted gardens will be restored.[6] To the extent that theodicy is addressed in theological education, Berger’s insight is important, but the most theologically significant aspect of incongruity humor is its ability to convey the tentative nature of systematic theological constructions. Therefore, Luther’s incongruity humor will be the focus of the rest of this paper.

Theology as Contextual: Luther’s Zen-like Pedagogy

Luther’s most bombastic statements were not used uniformly. When an opponent provided serious arguments, Luther typically engaged them with sobriety, reserving his “scatological character assassination” and irreverent lambastes for those who used “irrelevant arguments,” attacked him personally, or “just picked a fight.” More importantly, the advice to sin boldly, drink to spite the devil, or allow occasional sexual thoughts—so abhorrent to Luther’s detractors over the centuries—must be understood contextually. From the pulpit, Luther often railed against promiscuity, Saxon drunkenness, or sacrilege in worship. In individual conversations with troubled consciences, however, he would tailor his pastoral answers to the situation of the questioner.

For this reason, it is appropriate to compare Luther’s pedagogy to that of a Zen master. Each can be compared to a teacher walking along a narrow road, roped to a student. Suppose, given this mental picture, a student were to wander off to the left of the road and fall into a muddy ditch. In an effort to bring the student back to the center, the teacher might move far to the right and enter a pasture. This extreme movement would not entail a desire to bring the student to the pasture, but rather to get the student to return to the path. So it is with both the Zen masters and Dr. Luther. Their famously outrageous utterances do not represent ultimate dogmatic assertions, but are meant to jar errant disciples back to a true path. This is how Luther read Ecclesiastes 9:8-9, where he comments that Quoheleth “is not urging a life of pleasure and luxury characteristic of those who do not sense this vanity, for that would be putting oil on fire; but he is speaking of godly men, who sense the vexation and troubles of the world. It is their downcast hearts that he wants to encourage.”[9] In other words, this message, as is the case for all quality teaching, is custom fit to a particular audience.

As M. Conrad Hyers conveys in his essay, “The Ancient Zen Master as Clown-Figure and Comic Midwife,” Philosophy East and West 20.1 (1970): 3-18, teaching difficult spiritual concepts is often best accomplished through humor. He describes Zen wit as corresponding to three mythical stages: laugher of Paradise, laugher of Paradise-lost, and laughter of Paradise regained. Each has its place, but the most sophisticated is the laughter of Paradise-lost, which corresponds to Luther’s use of humor in the penultimate life. At this level both Luther and the Zen master become prophetic, iconoclastic, and able to embody “freedom in this half playful, half serious profaning.”[10]

Luther clearly maintained the value of doctrinal assertions in his famous exchange with Erasmus, but he was not much of a systematic theologian, and his lasting legacy comes from his ability to communicate, like a Zen master, through nondiscursive methods. He became, as Kierkegaard might have seen it, an “occasion for truth to manifest itself within the inner being of the disciple.”[11] Like a Zen master, Luther’s irreverent playfulness was often pronounced when a student was too cocksure about his attainment of spiritual truth. [12]

Humor as Intentional: Joseph and His Brothers

The best text to convey Luther’s understanding of the theological role of humor is his commentary on Genesis 42-45, which includes the narrative in which Joseph plays a prank on his siblings. When the joke gets too rough, Joseph reveals himself and expresses his forgiveness. Some patristic commentators, especially Augustine, struggled to answer whether Joseph’s ruse, which includes deception and temporary anguish for the innocent family members, was appropriate for a biblical hero. But Luther insists that Joseph’s actions are not only licit; they also express a spiritual maturity marked by grace. Luther uses this narrative as an occasion to contrast his movement’s ethos with that of his opponents. He writes:

I have often pointed out, and it must always be inculcated, that the Holy Spirit records humorous and inconsequential matters about such great patriarchs, whereas He could choose very weighty and sacred subjects …. An ignorant and carnal reader, who thinks that those matters are of no importance, is easily offended and is surprised that they are read in the church of God and that the Holy Spirit wastes time and effort in relating such nonsense. Why does He not set forth the wonderful stories of monastic fastings and the stoical and Spartan austerity of iron men, as the Carthusians want to be regarded? As though there could be important doctrine in ludicrous and worthless things! They also dispute whether this game, which Joseph plays, is pleasing to God or what impelled and inspired him to do so. But I reply that this is done by Joseph and recorded by the Holy Spirit in order that we might learn the right way to live before God. [13]

Luther believes that monastic “flagellations, fastings, and all kinds of torments of the body” represent a false humility, which stands in stark contrast to the biblical saints who transcend their “most grievous troubles” by displaying robust faith. Luther believes that the reason the monks think Joseph’s behavior is “puerile” is that it “conflicts with their self-chosen righteousness.”[14] In defiance of an ascetic ethos, Luther insists: “this game which Joseph played with his brothers was a very pleasing spectacle to God.”[15] Indeed, for Luther, our lives are a kind of game played by the Creator; though they include times of suffering, they exists in expectation of the eschatological self-revelation of God who, like Joseph, can see that our temporary incongruities will become the stuff of a great, cosmic comedy. Luther writes that in the eschaton, God will declare: “‘I am the Lord your God. Hitherto I have treated you just as if I wanted to cast you off and hurl you into hell. But this is a game I am wont to play with My saints; for if I had not wished you well from My heart, I would never have played with you in this manner.”[16]

Luther believes that one’s ability to appreciate humor is linked with one’s ability to perceive the world rightly. He explains that “persons subject to melancholy are often absentminded or, intent as they are on serious thought, neither see nor hear what they have seen and heard.” [17] To illustrate this, Luther recalls an event from his school days:

The same thing [i.e., failure to see rightly] happens to us that formerly happened to me in my boyhood and to my companions with whom I used to gather contributions for our support during our student days. For when at the time of the celebration of Christ’s birthday in the church we were singing in four voices from door to door in the villages the usual songs …, it happened by chance that we came to a country house situated in a lonely spot on the outermost borders of a village. When the farmer had heard us singing, he came out of the house and asked in a boorish voice where we were. “Where are you, you rascals?” he asked. At the same time he brought out sausages, which he intended to give us. But at the sound of these words we became so terrified that we all scattered, although we knew no reason at all for our terror, and the farmer was offering the sausages with the greatest goodwill. It is possible, of course, that our hearts, beaten down as they were by the constant threats and the cruelty with which teachers were accustomed to rage against their pupils, were more likely to be upset by sudden fright. Finally, however, he called us back from our flight; and we laid our fear aside, ran up, and took the contribution he was handing us. [18]

Note that Luther contrasts saintly humor with the terrifying cruelty of his childhood teachers. Whatever they taught, propositionally, the deep-seated ethos of fear was engrained into him. It is fair to assume that Luther’s pedagogy was intentionally different from those of his youth. Let us now turn to the question of whether Luther was successful in creating a new educational setting.

Luther’s Effective Pedagogy: Negotiating an Ethos

Gerald Strauss’ landmark but controversial work, Luther’s House of Learning: Indoctrination of the Young in the German Reformation (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins, 1979) essentially concluded that Lutheran education in sixteenth-century Germany was both internally inconsistent and also ultimately ineffective. Part of his dislike of the pedagogy he studied was its authoritarianism, at least as judged from the vantage point of modernity. As with other scholars of Reformation pedagogy, pastoral visitation records serve as important primary sources. Despite the value of these records, they cannot be taken at face value, since magistrate-appointed investigators were looking for failures in the system, not successes. Nonetheless, it is alarming to see Luther’s gracious theology instilled into students through a compulsory, repetitive, and restrictive system. Strauss writes:

Far from setting out to prepare the child to exercise independent judgment, encouraging in him flexible attitudes, training his mind to assimilate the greatest possible number of experiences … [the Lutheran] model Christian was an essentially passive being prepared to acquiesce rather than struggle, distrustful of his own inclinations and reluctant to act on them, diffident, ready to yield where his personal wishes collided with approved norms, unsure of his private judgment, hesitant to proceed where no one guided him, certain only of his weakness as a creature and of the mortal peril of his condition as a sinner. [19]

No doubt, this judges according to anachronistic standards. It fails to realize the extent to which the secular officials had a hand in the process, and that this education was only partly theological. It was also meant to preserve the stability of the region by suppressing radical theologies associated with the Peasant’s War of 1524-25, and also to maintain Lutheran—as opposed to Roman Catholic or Reformed—hegemony. Thus, while Lutheran education in sixteenth-century Germany may have failed to inculcate an authentic Lutheran ethos into the youth, the social scene presses us to consider a different context for Luther’s ideal pedagogy. As Mark Edwards rightly observes,

That the ritualistic formulas of Peter Canisius’s Catholic catechisms closely resemble those of some Lutheran catechisms is, therefore, beside the point. A Catholic catechumen must still regularly attend confession and undergo the sacrament of penance; a Lutheran catechumen does not. [Thus,] … the sense of actual sins could not play the same psychological role in social control in Lutheran lands as in Catholic.[20]

With this in mind, it is best to examine Luther’s activities at the university level (including informal conversations with students in his home) if we are to get a clear picture of Luther’s ideal pedagogy. In this context, he negotiated a distinct ethos, and modeled his doctrine of justification through faith alone.

I call this ethos negotiated as a nod to critics of cultural transmission theory in education. Cultural transmission is a way of understanding education as a relay of symbols, norms, values, knowledge, and artifacts from one generation to the next. Cultural transmission is thus to religious and theological conservatism what cultural transformation is for social and religious progressives. Philosophers like Jürgen Habermas, Jean-François Lyotard, and Jacques Derrida have criticized the idea of cultural transmission by arguing that as a negotiated, coordinated activity, education is inherently unpredictable and inter-subjective.[22] Granting the reciprocal nature of higher education, and the co-construction of a culture in an educational context, I prefer to speak of ethos negotiation. This language recognizes the power imbalance within a classroom without ignoring the role that students play in the exchange. To illustrate this through the concept of humor, a joke isn’t a joke if the audience doesn’t laugh; it is even less amusing when it has to be explained.

When Luther used humor—especially self-effacing humor—he created an ethos that was theoretically capable of reforming itself, reflecting the old Protestant motto: reformata semper reformanda (the reformed church must always be reforming). Thus, Luther provided his students a limited freedom to take part in the co-construction of evangelical theology. This of course does not discount the reality that Luther’s personal charisma and the cultural push for uniformity during the years of Lutheran scholasticism made it hard to diverge from Luther’s thought.

Negotiation of Luther’s unique and gracious ethos through humor provided a more effective pedagogical model than mere lecturing. To illustrate the value of ethos negotiation, allow me to draw from informal research conducted by Rabbi Brian Field, of Denver’s Judaism Your Way. His work, being unscientific, cannot provide the basis for strong conclusions, but it is informative. He asked three local Denver communities (white Protestants, Catholics, and Jews) to list the common internalized messages that they carry as members of a group. The following is a summary of what people reported:

White Protestants

1. hiddeness and embarrassment: giving up on showing ourselves because of repeatedly being told about our flaws; hiding or muting passion for being Protestant

2. harshness: enduring rather than changing or resisting; lessons reinforced with punishment

3. hopelessness: cheerfulness on top of a deep belief that there is no external help to be found; parents had difficulty showing that they liked or cared for us

4. independence: one should be independent from an early age; autonomy valued to the detriment of interpersonal connection

5. hardness: work hard, try hard, and be hard on oneself

Catholics

1. shame and secrets

2. self-blame and criticism

3. separation and disconnection

4. selflessness (having no self, insignificance, unworthiness)

5. self-sufficiency and isolation

6. silence & denial; voiceless: working behind the scenes

7. submission to authority

8. sex as sinful

Jews

1. fight for survival, fear of annihilation

2. powerlessness, mistrust and fear of others

3. functioning on top of terror; sense of urgency; appearing more confident than one feels

4. isolation from others, particularly other oppressed peoples

5. middle-agent role: brokering between the elite and the disenfranchised

6. pressure to be exceptional

7. fear of being attacked for being different from the norm and doing what is necessary in order to survive

I am not concerned by the generality here, since I am not presenting ethnographic research. Rather, it is sufficient to note that some members of these groups identify internalized messages—all drawn from a negotiated ethos—that directly contradict the explicit beliefs of their communities. For example, Protestant catechisms emphasize the importance of grace, but Protestant individuals describe an actual experience of graceless, punitive training. I suspect that religious educators in each of these surveyed communities would be unhappy with these lists because they do not reflect the curricula they use, but the point is that no matter how hard they try to communicate propositional dogma, the ethos of each community becomes the defining factor for a religious individuals’ self-understanding. Thus, pedagogues must pay close attention to the nondiscursive aspects and overall ethos of their programs if they wish to be effective.

For Luther, it meant using humor to allow students to experience the gospel in semi-semiotic ways. I say semi-semiotic because this is how I understand the function of theological humor. Miroslav Volf, in his essay,[23] recognizes the semiotic nature of theological discourse, but also insists that theology involves the non-semiotic—that is the immediate connection to a divine reality that one encounters apart from symbols or language. If we grant Volf’s approach, it is helpful to think of humor as semi-semiotic. Granted, oral or written jokes employ language. Nonetheless, propositional attempts to communicate the meaning of actual humor are often doomed. Thus, if a comedian needs to explain a joke, it ceases to be funny. This is because the joyful response to humor—laughter—is an involuntary response to a sudden realization or experience. But what does it communicate? Gritsch rightly observes that, “According to Luther, poetry music, and humor are better means to express God’s love of the sinner in Christ than logic.”[24] Thus, the non-semiotic nature of humor may offer the best chance for theologians to communicate what propositions cannot—that is, a non-semiotic encounter with the joyous spirit behind theological confessions. If this is so, it is appropriate to turn, finally, to the connection between Luther’s use of humor and his theology of the cross.

Humor in the Service of Luther’s Theology of the Cross

Gritsch says that Luther’s humor shows that he is not only a theologian of the cross, but also a theologian of humor.[25] I contend that his humor is in fact the embodiment of his theology of the cross, which is a theology in tension, a theology accepting its own paradoxical and tentative nature.

I suspect that a quantitative study would find a correlation between theological perspectives and humor preferences. For now, I can rely only on a study related to political ideology. Glenn Wilson, in “Ideology and Humor Preferences,” International Political Science Review 11.4 (1990): 461-472, found, among other things, that conservatives were intolerant of jokes that “failed to provide resolution of incongruous elements,” leading him to assert that “conservatives seek emotional control and cognitive closure compared with liberals, who are comfortable with more abandoned self expression and thought processes.”[26] Church historians will remind us of course that Luther’s political sentiments could be described as conservative, in light of his condemnation of peasant revolts. However, if we use the term “liberal” to refer to freedom of thought, it is easy to see how Luther’s ability to use incongruity humor without cognitive resolution corresponds to his cruciform theology. Granted, he trusted boldly in the biblical texts and asserted their unfailing truth; but he did not think it necessary to systematize these truths in the way that the subsequent Protestant scholastics did.

Observing Luther’s use of humor for his theology of the cross helps address concerns raised by Kathleen Strands in her essay “Ifs, Ands, and Butts: Theological Reflections on Humor,” Journal of the American Academy of Religion, 64.3 (Autumn 1996): 499-523. Strands notes that theological humor can be used to dominate or to mask the seriousness of one’s own theology while lampooning that of others. Moreover, she criticizes previous theological approaches to humor, noting that “declawing has seemed to be the primary operation through which humor has been translated into a theological key.”[27] She contends that the shopworn use of comedy as theodicy can communicate “the justification of power as ultimately coherent and good.”[28] Strands suggests a different way forward:

Humor, I propose, is an insight ratified not by analysis but by the instant, undeniable, and orgasmic reflex of laughter. This blend of cognition and automatism distinguishes humor from other pleasures and other insights, and establishes its special relationship with ritual, religion, and social practice in general … In searching for God, then, theology will do well to listen for the muted laughter that rings round the absolute. [29]

One familiar with the subject can see how much this description of the comic resembles cruciform theology. To the extent that Luther attempted to reject speculation about the absolute (what he called the deus nudus), one can assert that his incongruity humor served to teach his students and colleagues to come to terms with the idea that there is no ultimate cognitive closure in this life. Of all Luther’s appropriations of humor, therefore, this is the one that seems most worthy of consideration for theology today.

Conclusion

It has been said rightly that one cannot argue with a joke, and theological faculty who use subversive humor know it is often as effective as it is a shield from an authoritarian administration. There are, of course, times and places when humor can be inappropriate or ineffective,[30] but for those who affirm the penultimate nature of theology, humor is an invaluable tool to help students not take their professors too seriously. Forgive the cliché as I conclude my paper by stating seven theses.

1. Humor within theological education can serve healthy counter-hegemonic purposes.

2. Like a Zen master, the theology professor should answer questions in ways that correspond to the disposition of the questioner, rather than in ways that seek to create timeless and non-contextual propositions.

3. The ethos negotiated between faculty and students produces far more effective and lasting effects than the actual content of lectures.

4. Humorless theologians fail to appreciate the penultimate nature of their work and thus misconstrue the very content they seek to convey.

5. No matter how many times they assert their commitment to grace in the abstract, theologians who inhabit faith communities committed to the importance of grace fail in their vocation if they refuse to allow humor in the classroom.

6. Humor in the service of theology ought not be confused with cognitive closure or a facile narration of suffering; rather, it ought to be understood as liberated play within a community of hope.

7. A theologian who fails to appreciate and occasionally employ incongruity-based humor is likely a theologian of glory rather than a theologian of the cross.

NOTES:

[1] Table Talk 122, 1531. LW 54:17-18. Since I have used my electronic library of the LW, many references do not have page numbers.

[2] Letter to Jerome Weller, November 6, 1530, qtd. in Darrin McMahon, Happiness: A History (New York: Grove Press, 2006), 171.  This is conveniently left out of the American edition of Luther’s correspondence, and it would have come at the very end of the first volume, or the very beginning of the second.  I wonder if this was intentional.

[3] Fritz Blanke, Luthers Humor: Scherz und Schalk in Luthers Seelsorge(Hamburg: Furche, 1967).

[4] Review of Eric Gritsch, The Wit of Martin Luther (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2006), by Martin Lohrmann , in Lutheran Quarterly21.4 (Winter 2007), 472.

[5] Steven Ozment, Reformation in the Cities: The Appeal of Protestantism in Sixteenth-Century Germany and Switzerland(Yale, 1980).

[6] Peter Berger, Redeeming Laughter, 215.

[7] Gritsch, The Wit of Martin Luther, 31.

[8] LW 48: 281-283

[9] LW 15

[10] Hyers, “The Ancient Zen Master as Clown Figure,” 6.

[11] Hyers, “The Ancient Zen Master as Clown Figure,” 10.

[12] For examples of these, see Gritsch, The Wit of Martin Luther.

[13] Martin Luther, vol. 7, Luther's Works, Vol. 7 : Lectures on Genesis: Chapters 38-44, ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald and Helmut T. Lehmann, Luther's Works (Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1999, c1965). Hereafter abbreviated LW.

[14] LW 7

[15] LW 7

[16] LW 8

[17] LW 7

[18] LW 7

[19] Strauss, Luther’s House of Learning, 136.

[20] Review of Gerald Strauss, Luther’s House of Learning: Indoctrination of the Young in the German Reformation,reviewed by Mark Edwards, History of Education Quarterly21.4 (Winter, 1981), 474.

[21] Jeroen Dekker, “Cultural Transmission and Inter-Generational Interaction,” International Review of Education / Internationale Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft / Revue Internationale de l'Education, Vol. 47, No. 1/2. (Mar., 2001), 87. On this topic, see also B. Allan Tindall, “Theory in the Study of Cultural Transmission,” Annual Review of Anthropology5 (1976): 195-208, and Henry T. Trueba, “Notes on Cultural Acquisition and Transmission,” Anthropology and Education Quarterly(22.3 (1991): 279-80. Trueba seems justified when he writes that “reductionistic tendencies of postmodernistic anthropology to see culture as the sum total of individual perceptions or simply as mental constructs that happen to be congruenttrivializes the significance of culture and jeopardizes the study of culture through systematic ethnographic methodologies” (p. 280).

[22] Dekker, “Cultural Transmission,” 78.

[23] Miroslav Volf, “Theology, Meaning, and Power,” in Miroslav Volf, Carmen Krieg, Thomas Kucharz eds., The Future of Theology: Essays in Honor of Jürgen Moltmann(Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1996), 98-113.

[24] Gritsch, The Wit of Martin Luther, 83.

[25] Gritsch, The Wit of Martin Luther, ix.

[26] Glenn Wilson, in “Ideology and Humor Preferences,” 461.

[27] Strands, Ifs, Ands, and Butts,” 504.

[28] Strands, Ifs, Ands, and Butts,” 505.

[29] Strands, Ifs, Ands, and Butts,” 507.

[30] David Sudol, “Dangers of Classroom Humor,” The English Journal70.6 (1981): 26-28.

Jeffrey Mallinson