[DAVID] PETERS is the McDonnell Douglas professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Washington University [in St. Louis, Missouri]. In his new book, The Many Faces of Biblical Humor, he lays out the funny stories in both the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, pulls out the best one-liners, and explains Hebrew and Greek puns that don't quite make for as many laughs in English.

In an e-mail from Mazatlan, Mexico, where he is on vacation, Peters explained that he was brought up as a Southern Baptist in a church with "a strong tradition of almost a theatrical preaching style where ministers love to tell Bible stories and bring out the humor."

About three years ago, Peters joined Grace & Peace Fellowship, an evangelical Presbyterian (PCA) church in St. Louis, where, he said, "the ministers appreciate the humor in the Word." For the last 40 years, Peters has read the Bible cover to cover, picking a different topic to concentrate on each year. "A few years ago, I decided to mark humorous or ironic or sarcastic passages," he said. By the end of the year, he'd marked more than 1,000 verses and decided to write a book.

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A little more grace, a motive made...
March 16, 2009

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