Laughing Gods, Weeping Virgins: Laughter in the History of Religion

By Maguire, Joanne | Anglican Theological Review, Summer 1999 | Go to article overview

Laughing Gods, Weeping Virgins: Laughter in the History of Religion


Maguire, Joanne, Anglican Theological Review


Laughing Gods, Weeping Virgins: Laughter in the History of Religion. By Ingvild Salid Gilhus. New York: Routledge, 1998. vii + 173 pp. $69.95 (cloth).

Religious traditions address the universal human impulse to laughter on a spectrum from inclusion to exclusion; consequently, they provide us with a wide range of images, from the belly-laughing Dalai Lama to the unsmiling, stoic monk. In this intriguing study, Gilhus examines laughter as "a cultural product and an historical subject, connected to the human body as a symbol" (p. 6). As a symbolic cultural construction expressed in myth and ritual, laughter can be life-giving or destructive. As an eruptive, bodily force, it can be controlled or exploited. As a manifestation of the divine-human relationship, it is a prime indicator of power and control.

Gilhus focuses on three overarching social-scientific models ("superiority," "incongruity," and "relief") and three Western cultural periods (her "dominant interpretive contexts") in analyzing laughter as it is inscribed in religious discourse, myths, rituals and festivals. Put simply, the Ancient Near East and Classical Greek world embraced cosmic laughter; the Hellenistic and Western Christian world fluctuated between contempt for bodily loss of control and a "laughter culture" manifest in religious theater and medieval carnivals; and the modern world has come to associate laughter with human rationality and thereby with health, happiness and knowledge. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Laughing Gods, Weeping Virgins: Laughter in the History of Religion
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.