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This collected volume publishes the contributions of numerous scholars to the International Symposium Humor in Arabic Culture, by the editor in July 2007at the Free University of Berlin. First of all, a critical view is taken of early Muslim religious writings – and against the background of relevant Jewish and Christian pronouncements – to determine more closely the Islamic discourse on the value and non-value of humor; here too the question is examined of the extent to which normative forces were thus released which were able to set boundaries for Arabic humor. Then the wide spectrum of the humorous in classical Arabic literature is reviewed and the common elements connecting the multifarious forms of its expression are revealed as a traditional Arabic understanding of humor. Finally, the papers discuss the way Arabic humor has changed with the onset of the modern age and globalization and examine the role of humor as a vehicle of social and political criticism in Arabic societies.