The Bible through a Comic Lens

Jane Voigts

For many years I have been engaged in an exploration of how the Bible is actually a comedy, a document intended to make people laugh. I believe it has always intended to be understood and experienced as such. I am interested in what difference the “comic lens” makes in spiritual development, especially as it applies to Christianity. I am also interested in what difference it makes to understanding and embracing many of the “tough texts” of scripture that are unhelpful-to-repugnant when viewed as
“tragedy” (which is primarily the case).

I would very much appreciate the opportunity to introduce my ideas to the conference, not only to bring a new hermeneutic to scripture (I honestly don’t think anyone is approaching the biblical text as I am) but also to evoke a (probably)new emotional experience in engaging scripture, i.e. the eruption of the great joy that comes from laughter and play (“tools” necessarily used to discover the text’s surprisingly comic nature!).

A third intent in my presentation is the recognition of ways much contemporary comedy surprisingly reflects the original intentions of biblical narrative. This leads to the argument that new, exciting bridges can and should be made between the worlds of Judeo-Christian theology, “Hollywood,” and “Broadway.” It also points the way to the creation of a “Comedy Church” – something I have been in various ways exploring and creating in the past few years.