Home WakeSpace Scholarship › Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Serving the Lord with Gladness: Situating Christian Humor in Three Historical Contexts

Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Item Files

Item Details

abstract
European churches in the sixteenth century faced dwindling attendance due to parishioners’ indifference toward church services, a consequence of factors such as boring sermons and dissatisfaction with clergy and church leaders. As a result, many Christians of the time refused to attend or participate in church services, opting instead for more pleasurable activities such as frequenting theatrical performances and alehouses. Essentially, sixteenth century preachers were forced to compete with vices such as the theater, alcohol, and gambling for the public’s attention and respect. Christian leaders of the time, however, proposed a unique way of ameliorating this dilemma. These individuals suggested preachers incorporate theatrical elements and rhetorical devices, traditionally reserved for popular forms of entertainment, into their sermons. This controversial technique, known as pulpit jesting, proved quite effective in winning parishioners back to the churches. Nearly four centuries later, revival leaders in the United States were using pulpit jesting with even more success than their European predecessors. In contemporary American society, where many Christians similarly find themselves too distracted or indifferent towards participation in weekly religious services, a new breed of comedian has gained enormous appeal by synthesizing humor and Christianity. Christian standup comedians present an interesting case study as they are simultaneously entertainers and evangelists. In short, contemporary Christian standup comedians are heirs to the tradition of pulpit jesting.
subject
standup comedy
Christian
comedians
pulpit-jesting
humor
pulpit
jesting
contributor
DiMichele, Anthony M. (author)
Leonard, Bill J. (committee chair)
Neal, Lynn S. (committee member)
Whitaker, Jarrod L. (committee member)
date
2010-05-07T18:48:01Z (accessioned)
2010-06-18T18:57:35Z (accessioned)
2010-05-07T18:48:01Z (available)
2010-06-18T18:57:35Z (available)
2010-05-07T18:48:01Z (issued)
degree
Religion (discipline)
identifier
http://hdl.handle.net/10339/14702 (uri)
publisher
Wake Forest University
rights
Release the entire work for access only to the Wake Forest University system for one year from the date below. After one year, release the entire work for access worldwide. (accessRights)
title
Serving the Lord with Gladness: Situating Christian Humor in Three Historical Contexts
type
Thesis

Usage Statistics