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[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."

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