Is This a Joke?

Of course not!*

This is THE University of Chicago, "Where Fun Comes To Die." We don't joke. It's too political and infringes on our right to freely express our superiority. Just like it's not a joke that we have so many interdisciplinary centers and institutes, we can even count them all.

Do you REALLY believe the Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center would go through the work of archiving papers for a FAKE theologian? Look at how long their name is! They don't joke around. Also, another interdisciplinary center!

*University Legal Counsel may advise that we add a disclaimer that this may in fact be a joke. Even though THIS IS NOT A JOKE. I mean, he has a Twitter account @franzbibfeldt just like a REAL scholar would.

Five exhibition badges with plastic covering. One has a purple ribbon and two have red ribbons.
Exhibition badges

"Exhibitor's badges," Bibfeldt, Franz. Papers, Box 1, Folder 11, Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.

CLEARLY, he was a real person if there are real exhibition badges with his name on them.

a single dark blue sock with brown reindeer decoration
Franz's snuggly sock

Donnelley Stool Christmas sock, Bibfeldt, Franz. Papers, Box 5, Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library

Here's a real sock that belonged to Bibfeldt. Only real people own socks.

Here are some quotes about Dr. Bibfeldt to prove THIS IS NOT A JOKE:

  • "My favorite prof at the Divinity School!" -- Dr. Golde N. Zizek
  • "LOL. I was just trying to remember that guy's name." -- Dr. Herman Eutics
  • "I thought this was a joke but his papers are in the HANNA HOLBORN GRAY SPECIAL COLLECTIONS RESEARCH CENTER so I guess it can't be?" -- Cornel East
  • "Isn't that the Year Zero guy? He like taught at the Div School but was always a year off or something? I never really got it but yeah, it's a real thing." Roberto "Bobby Z" Zimmer
Book with blue hard cover with "F. Bibfeldt The Problem of The Year Zero" printed in white on the cover.
Bibfeldt's dissertation

F. Bibfeldt, "The Problem with the Year Zero," Bibfeldt, Franz. Papers, Box 1, Folder 7, Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.

We have a copy of Bibfeldt's dissertation! Right here, in the library! Sadly, the text itself has been lost as all the pages are blank but we have the binding, which is the most important evidence of historicity.

''One minute you're a full year before Christ, and then, BOOM, one minute later, you're into the first year of the Christian Era, with nothing in between.'' Robin Lovin in Teresi, Dick "Is Franz Bibfeldt for Real? Yes and No".

xerox copy of an American Kennel Club certificate for an Invisible Wired-hair terrier belonging to Franz Bibfeldt. Color listed as "transparent with opaque shadings."
Bibfeldt's terrier

"American Kennel Club, Registration Gertificate for Hadley I, 1974," Bibfeldt, Franz. Papers, Box 2, Folder 3, Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.

Franz had a dog. Just like a REAL PERSON. She was an Invisible Wired-haired Terrier and her name was Hadley I. All accounts say that she was probably adorable.

SO, does this seem like a JOKE to you?

Would a fictitious theologian, invented by a former Dean of the Divinity School, perpetuated by generations of faculty, staff, and students, say this?:

"My first great book was an answer to Karl Barth on the paradox resolved. My next book is really an answer to Karl Marx (I seem to be hung up on Karl) on the paradox returned. All this I owe to the American Revolution. Hannah Arendt reminded us that the word revolution really means to revolve, to turn back to, to return to, actually to come full circle. Americans were the first to learn this in their revolution: they have been going in circles ever since. I learned it from them, and so I have moved from paradox to paradox resolved (anti-Karl B.) to paradox returned (anti-K. Marx) and I too have come full circle. As another great man once said, I have returned." Jerald C. Brauer, "A Letter from Franz Bibfeldt," in The Unrelieved Paradox: Studies in the Theology of Franz Bibfeldt.