Lutheranism & The Classics VII: Humor

WHAT: From the Reformation onward, Lutherans have held not only to the languages and literature of the ancient Greeks and Romans, but also appreciated such under-regarded aspects as irony, ridicule, and even sarcasm. While Luther in some ways rediscovered the Gospel and thus developed such “serious” doctrines as the Atonement, the presence of Christ in the means of grace, the priesthood of all believers, and the necessity of godly vocation, he simultaneously was given to outrageous overstatement, scatology, and scornful derision of his many enemies.

The conference organizers seek individual papers (or panels with at least three participants) on such topics as follows:

  • Reformation Perspectives on Greco-Roman Comedy
  • Luther and Scatology
  • Invective and Sarcasm in Scripture and at Wittenberg
  • Translating Humor
  • Luther’s Upbraiding of Tetzel and Other Adversaries
  • How Jokes Work
  • Humor or Ridicule as Understood by Ancient Philosophers
  • Church Fathers and their Use of Humor
  • Was Jesus Funny?
  • Pauline Broadsides
  • Humor’s Gospel Insight
  • Humor in Sacred Music: Bach and Others
  • Witty Preaching
  • What Role might Humor Play in the Raising of Christian Children?

Our subject is broadly conceived and latitude will be given to cogent abstracts. Proposals should exemplify philological excellence, contribute to the conference theme however broadly, and avoid overspecialization. Sectional presenters should plan for their papers to be 17 minutes in length. Selected papers may be published.

WHO: Keynote addresses by Dr. Avery Springer, John Burroughs School; Cynthia Liu, Oxford University; Dr. Steven Paulson, Luther House of Study; and Dr. John Nordling, Concordia Theological Seminary.

WHEN: Abstracts of no more than 250 words should be submitted by electronic attachment to Professor Carl P.E. Springer, SunTrust Chair of Excellence in the Humanities, University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, at by November 1, 2022.