Monday, 22 November 2010

The Deep Comedy of God and His People

Peter Leithart describes Christian history in comic terms. (Comic in the academic sense of happily ever after; the opposite of tragic. He doesn't mean a 7000yr episode of Fawlty Towers).  He writes:

The classical world ... was dominated by a tragic view of history, in which history moved from a glorious beginning to a tarnished end ... manifested in a predominantly tragic literature. ... the gospel challenged this tragic classicism by presenting a fundamentally comic vision of history.

He continues:

"Tragedy" is used here... as a story in which the characters begin neutrally or well, but slide inexorably to a bad end; "comedy" is a story in which the characters may face dangers, perhaps dangers of a great intensity, but ultimately rise to a happy ending. "Deep comedy" brings two additional nuances: First in deep comedy the happy ending is uncontaminated by any fear of future tragedy and second, in deep comedy the characters do not simply end as well as they began, but progress beyond their beginning. Comedy may move from glory to glory restored, but deep comedy moves from glory to added glory.

At the next and final Biblical Thinking Forum of 2010, we'll look at this as we consider the second coming of Jesus and the renewal of the whole creation.

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