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Dr Simon Ravenscroft writes at ABC Religion & Ethics on laughter, folly and theology

last modified Apr 14, 2016 11:57 AM

ABC Religion & Ethics have published an essay by VHI Research Associate Dr Simon Ravenscroft entitled 'Levity and Theology: On Playing the Fool in the Academy and Life'. The piece draws on Simon's research on the political and social meaning of laughter and the comic, particularly the theologically-inflected Renaissance paradoxes of 'wise folly' and 'serious play', to comment on ways of inhabiting the modern university in particular, and modern society in general.

"The wise fool of Renaissance literature embodies an ironical which opposites meet: jest and earnestness, humour and seriousness, learning and ignorance - wisdom and folly. She shows us that things may not be as they seem, that what appears as the wisdom of the world may in fact be folly, and what appears as folly in the eyes of the world may be a higher wisdom, perhaps divine. Things appear topsy-turvy, in the manner of those paradoxical Scriptural maxims about the first being last and the last first, and strength being made perfect in weakness. [...]

"Yes, we must participate in our institutions, warped as they are by the idolatry of money and power, by unjust hierarchies, by scarcity and competition, by the spirit of fear and rivalry. But we ought to do so lightly, with the 'jollity of mind' that comes from the knowledge that these orders are relative, and that our participation in them is not everything we are."

Update 14-04-16
This has now been translated into Norwegian:


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