Tuesday, May 11, 2021

On Medium: The Triumph of Jewish Comedy Over Monotheistic Brands

An article on making sense of the multiplicity of religions, by contrasting dystopian, monotheistic ones with humbler, less ambitious or satirical religious brands.


  1. I was aware that many of the stories in the Bible are retellings of near eastern myths & legends, but until I read your article it had not occurred to me that they might also be satires. Given the heavy irony in some of these stories, it really seems obvious in hindsight: Job's suffering has no moral significance to it but is simply the result of a wager between two supernatural beings. A lazy cheat & liar (Jacob) is favored by Jehovah over his industrious brother (Esau). God condescends to asking for the Pharaoh's permission to let the Hebrews go & threatens him with plagues if he refuses -- even though all along He, being God, obviously had the power to free the Hebrews at any time. Of course there are many more examples, too many to list here.

    The underlying message in the OT seems to be that if events in this world are really being guided by some divine providence, then whoever is behind it must be either insane or willfully unjust. Reading these stories as parodies of earlier religious myths seems more plausible than the idea that the ancient Hebrews sincerely believed in & worshiped a tyranical oaf like Jehovah.

    1. I've just written a follow-up article on this topic, tentatively titled "God's Comedy and The Theocrat's Tragedy."

      There's likely a strong and a weaker form of this thesis. Religious scriptures might have been written intentionally as satirical or the religious comedy might arise naturally but unintentionally, as a result of other causes. The second, weaker thesis is more universally applicable than the first.