Hearty appreciation to the gentleman who was large enough to correct himself
about the camel-through-the-needle saying. We don't see such generosity of
spirit and mind often enough! He also illustrated how it helps to do some
research before putting fingers to keyboard. And he mentioned humor in the
Gospels, of which there is probably more than we commonly recognize because
(1) we approach the Gospels solemnly (either as too sacred to expect laughs,
or as textual evidence for academic investigation--likewise usually unfunny),
and (2) because we read them in translation and culturally removed from the
original setting of Jesus. As an example, take another camel saying.
Matt. 23:24 re: "straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel", which is
funny enough even in translation (just picture in the mind's eye swallowing
a camel, humps andd all). But it may also be a Greek translation of a
saying from Aramaic, in which we then also have a wordplay, which was a
highly developed and well appreciated form of humor in ancient (and even
modern) Semitic cultures. In Aramaic, "gnat" = galmah, and "camel" = gamlah.
Or take the saying about having a log in your eye while trying to help
someone with a speck in the eye! There is much more humor, and irony, and
even sarcasm in the Gospel sayings than we may usually recognize.
Larry Hurtado, Robinson College, Cambridge, England (firstname.lastname@example.org)