From: Mark Goodacre (
Date: Thu Feb 05 1998 - 04:08:09 EST

Peter Philips wrote:
> "Why did the hedgehog cross the road?"
> "I don;t know, why did the hedgehog cross the road?"
> "To see his flat mate?"
> Is it true that in ancient societies hedgehogs were actually a lot
> flatter than they are today?
> Or is it just the case that modern humanity has lost its sense of
> humour all of a sudden. Please, please, please, let's not try to
> destroy Jesus' joke by our overwhelming rationality!!!

I am delighted to see that someone else finds this funny. I often
ask students whether they find sayings like this funny and they
generally react with astonishment at the very idea that Jesus / the
Gospels / the Bible could be funny. One said to me last year "It
stands to reason that Jesus was not a comedian, doesn't it?"

Anyone who has seen the recent "Visual Bible" videos based on
Matthew's Gospel will have noted that in the Sermon on the Mount
Jesus tells the log and the speck saying as a joke, to universal

There is in several Gospel sayings a nice ring of the absurd --
walking around with a log in one's eye, putting a camel through a
needle, straining at gnats and swallowing camels. Or perhaps on the
latter KAMHLOS was mistaken for a word for a large pill, or some such
thing. If Jesus were writing Emails, he would have had to make
liberal use, I think, of smiley faces.

With good wishes

Dr Mark Goodacre
  Dept of Theology, University of Birmingham
World Without Q:

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