If you think reading the Fathers is a grim business … well, then you haven’t read the Fathers. Or maybe you’ve read the wrong translations. I was pleased when no less a reviewer than Russell Shaw praised my book The Fathers of the Church for recovering the humor of the patristic era. J.A. McGuckin made a similar recovery in his recent biography of Cyril of Alexandria. McGuckin points out that the arch-heretic Nestorius had a penchant for semantic fussiness; he was fond of the phrase “strictly speaking.” The Fathers, in turn, rarely passed up an opportunity to use the phrase in their refutations. The Christian rabble picked up on it and used it in their anti-Nestorian slogans and songs. Where, you may ask, is the great Christian satire today?
Look no further. My friend Chris Bailey continues the venerable tradition of patristic humor with his hilarious parody of the Gnostic text Pistis Sophia, published in the magazine Touchstone (one of the few periodicals that publish the Fathers as news). Don’t read this with your mouth (or bladder) full.