Erasmus and Christian Laughter

"We then saw what St. Jerome said of those who serve God and those who serve the world: 'Each to the other we seem insane.: Invicem insanire videmur. There is a never-ending duel between the two."
-- Fontaine

"If anyone would compare the Gospel story with the prophetic saying, he will readily perceive how often, and in how many ways, the Lord in the heavens laughed at the impious counsels of men and had them in derision."

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"For those who, despising all earthly things and even life itself, embrace the heavenly philosophy with all their heart, seem insane to those for whom nothing is pleasant but the earthly and perishable.  He who pours out his inheritance for the poor is insane in the opinion of the man who places the defense of his life in riches.The man who, for the Gospel, willingly exposes himself to exile, poverty, imprisonment, torturing, and death, in hope of eternal blessedness, is a lunatic for the man who does not believe that, after this life, there is a more blessed one for the pious.  He who spurns the honors of princes and of the people so as to obtain glory with God, is mad for those who really are mad."

"But these critics give me more credit than I deserve.   I'm not the least eager for such praise, coming as it does from people in whom I recognize neither wit nor learning nor eloquence.  Believe me, my dear Dorp, if they were better endowed that way, they wouldn't be offended by jokes which aren't simply witty or learned, but convey a good moral point."
"A certain preacher jumped into the pulpit  half-asleep from a night's drinking.[. . .] He began with these words, as though taken from St. Paul: Ebrii sunt, et ergo, 'Are they drunk? so am I." "Even as a joke, I wouldn't want to have written anything that could offend a Christian conscience; only grant me a reader who tries to understand what he reads, not to misrepresent it.  But if one were to reckon up the number of readers who have neither wit nor judgment to understand; then add the number of those that know less than nothing of good literature because they've been infected rather than instructed by muddled and careless teaching; and finally tot up the lot of those who hate anyone who knows what they don't know, and who bring to their reading nothing but a fixed determination to blacken anything that by some chance they do not understand; then indeed the only way to avoid calumny would be to write nothing at all."

"Only look at those heavy, solemn fellows who've devoted themselves to philosophic studies or to serious or difficult business -- they have started to grow old even before their youth, their vital spirits and animal juices all dried up as a result of constant worry and the pressure of painful, intensive cogitation."

"All manner of thing shall be well/ When the tongues of flame are in-folded/ Into the crowned knot of fire/ And the fire and the rose are one." -- T.S. Eliot, Little Gidding