"Laughing Gods, Weeping Virgins" provides an engaging analysis of how laughter has been used as a symbol in myths, rituals and festivals of Western religions. Ingvild Saelid Gilhus argues that laughter is a central human phenomenon. Humans use laughter as a means to experience the world, categorize its forms and judge its values. Laughter is frequently used as a characteristic of the divine. In this comprehensive study Gilhus examines the relationship between corporeal human laughter and spiritual divine laughter from Classical antiquity to the Christian West and the modern era. She offers an original and pertinent exploration of a universal human phenomenon, and its significance for the development of religions.

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