He who laughs last – Jesus and laughter in the Synoptic and Gnostic traditions
Publication of this article was funded by the Stellenbosch University Open Access Fund.
The original publication is available at http://www.hts.org.za
Please cite as follows:
Nel, M.J. 2014. He who laughs last – Jesus and laughter in the Synoptic and Gnostic traditions. HTS Teologiese Studies/ Theological Studies, 70(1), doi:10.4102/hts.v70i1.2034 .
The aim of the article is to examine the meaning of references to laughter in the Synoptic Gospels and a number of Gnostic texts. Whereas Jesus is depicted as an object of ridicule (Mk 5:40 par.) and as condemning those who laugh in the Synoptic Gospels (Lk 6:25), it is he who often laughs derisively at the ignorance of others in Gnostic texts. The meaning of laughter in the Synoptic Gospels and a number of Gnostic texts is examined in the light of the general Greco-Roman attitude towards laughter and, more specifically, in regard to the archetypical distinction between playful and consequential laughter in Greek culture.