The World According to Paul: Comedy and Theology in “Joseph Andrews”

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
James E. Evans, Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: ALTHOUGH THE CHRISTIAN CONTEXT of Fielding?s first novel and its comic techniques have been much discussed, I propose to combine these perspectives, to interpret the novel?s comedy through a biblical passage, I Corinthians 3: 18-19, which, given the nature of Parson Adams? folly, surprisingly has not been made a key to interpretation.1 These verses from Paul?s epistle bring together comedy and theology in Joseph Andrews. In them he advised the Christians of Corinth: “Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him be a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.” The passage illustrates a fundamental motif of comedy, the inversion often called “the world upside down.”2 What seems to be wisdom in the ways of the world is, to the Christian, mostly folly; conversely, apparent foolishness unconcerned with worldly ends, is not folly at all but, in the Christian perspective, wisdom, since it follows God?s ways rather than man?s.

Additional Information

Ariel: A Review of International English Literature 15.1 (1984): 45-56.
Language: English
Date: 1984
Henry Fielding, Christian influence, Wisdom, Theology

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