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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton October 19, 2013

The sacred comedy: The problems and possibilities of Peter Berger's Theory of Humor

David Feltmate
From the journal Humor


Peter Berger is one of the world's best known sociologists of religion, having made significant contributions to the theories of the social construction of religious worlds and secularization theory. He is also a lay theologian who has never been shy about putting forth his religious interpretations of modernity and combining his theological concerns with his sociological insights. This article considers the role of humor in Berger's overarching theoretical framework, demonstrating its consistency over a thirty-six year period in his writings from The Precarious Vision (1961) to Redeeming Laughter (1997). After outlining his theory, Berger's arguments are criticized for their theological elements and a corrective is offered from the sociologies of humor and knowledge. The article concludes with a consideration of Berger's potential contributions to a sociology of religious humor and an invitation to future research on the topic.

Published Online: 2013-10-19
Published in Print: 2013-10-25

©[2013] by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston

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