Jonah: looks pretty tidy for being puked out of a fish
The story of God, a Prophet, Some sailors, a great storm, a great fish, a repentant nation, and said prophet’s frustration.
This book is short, but full of meaning. It also has a lot of questions that it forces upon the reader.
Did all of this literally happen?
What does Jonah’s attempt to run away from his calling mean?
How merciful is God?
When I read this book, who am I? Am I like Jonah? Like the sailors? Like the residents of Nineveh?
Is this book saying something about Israel? About Exile?
What’s to point of the Song/Prayer in ch. 2?
These are all questions that I’m working through with my thesis. The last chapter is asking is Jonah a satire? If Jonah is written as a satire for the nation of Israel, in regards to their unwillingness to be a light to the nations, or their experiences coming out of exile and back to nationhood, then this book becomes very rich indeed.
Many believe that the Romans invented the form of satire. I tend to believe that the Romans gave the form a name, but Satire itself is as old as telling stories around the fire. Jonah was written before the Romans came to power, but the power of Satire in revealing a truth was available before Juvenal and Horace.
Colbert and the Sword of Truthiness
Of course satire has a strong presence in today’s cultural critique, particularly in the form of the Daily Show and The Colbert Report. So my goal in my last chapter is to look at Jonah and Colbert, the satire of a Prophet and A Pundit.
So that’s where my brain is at right now. I’m so close to finishing up the drafts for my thesis, and I can hardly wait to be done, but I’ve also been looking forward to writing this last chapter for a long time.