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Old Testament Essays

On-line version ISSN 2312-3621
Print version ISSN 1010-9919

Abstract

CLAASSENS, L. Juliana M.. Rethinking humour in the Book of Jonah: Tragic laughter as resistance in the context of trauma. Old testam. essays [online]. 2015, vol.28, n.3, pp.655-673. ISSN 2312-3621.  http://dx.doi.org/10.17159/2312-3621/2015/v28n3a6.

Several scholars have identified comedic elements in the book of Jonah. However, underlying these comedic elements are traumatic memories of the devastating violence caused by empires. So the reference to Nineveh is likely to evoke memories of the terrible cruelty performed by the Assyrians, coupled with painful memories of the Babylonian invasion of Jerusalem that saw the destruction of the city and the temple in addition the deportation of thousands of its inhabitants. This article will read the comedic elements in the book of Jonah through Jacqueline Bussie 's notion of "tragic laughter. " Tragic laughter emerges out of a context of trauma and has the purpose of interrupting a system of oppression, so serving as a form of resistance and protest in the face of the devastating psychological effects of trauma. By transforming tragedy into comedy, tragic laughter plays an important role in fostering hope, so enabling the survival of the human spirit.

Keywords : Humour; Tragic Laughter; Jonah; Trauma; Satire; Comedy.

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