Highlights for November

The Gospel according to a sitcom writer

James Cary

By James Cary

If you can’t see the jokes in the Bible, maybe you’re not taking it seriously. “The Gospel According to a Sitcom Writer” by James Cary (who has written for several British TV shows) is a riotous but reverent examination of the Gospels.

What’s the first joke in John’s Gospel?

The joke passes by so quickly, most people miss it. It’s understandable. Few people are expecting to find jokes in John’s Gospel. At first glance, it doesn’t promise many laughs. The “In the beginning” beginning makes it feel very austere, but once you get into the meat of the Gospel, especially the first 11 chapters, you find quite a lot of comic incidents.

Nathanael is a disciple of Jesus only mentioned in John’s Gospel. Many Bible scholars believe that Nathanael was also known as Bartholomew, but maybe he went into obscurity precisely because he attempted a joke early in the Gospel.

So let’s take a closer look at some material that may have been cut from the early versions of John’s Gospel:

“On the next day, Jesus was determined to go out into Galilee, and he found Philip. Jesus said to him, ‘Follow me.’ Now Philip was from Bethsaida, of the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael, and said to him, ‘We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, wrote: Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.’

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A history of Advent calendars

Photo/Elena Mozhvilo/unsplash.com

Edited by Episcopal Journal

The first Advent calendars appeared in 19th-century Germany to count down the days between the start of Advent and Christmas Day.

There is some disagreement as to when the first printed Advent calendars appeared, although it is clear that they were first produced at some time in the 1900s. There are claims that a Christian bookshop in Hamburg produced a “Christmas Clock” in 1902, and a newspaper in Stuttgart is known to have included an Advent calendar in its pages in 1904.

The first mass producer of Advent calendars is thought to have been Gerhard Lang, who worked at the Reichhold & Lang printing office in Munich. He released his first Advent calendar in 1908 and had a steady business, producing more than 30 calendar patterns until the 1930s. The calendars would usually have 24 doors, but tended to be better-decorated than modern versions.

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