To Touch or to be touched


Todat was published: ‘To touch or to be touched. Doubting Thomas in the Bible, aprocryphal texts, and the arts. A literary perspective’ in Perichoresis.

In Christian tradition, the name of the Biblical Thomas is connected primarily to the story of John 20: 27 in which the apostle in invited by Jesus to touch his tortured body. This invitation is the result of Thomas’ prior scepticism to the reality of the resurrection. Contrary to popular belief, the text of John does not indicate clearly if Thomas accepts Jesus’ offer. John creates a narrative gap for the readers to fill in, stimulating the reader to contemplate the rela-tionship between the notion of seeing, touching and believing, and their mutual dependency (or the lack of it). In this historical-literary article, the author investigates this literary dependency in the synoptic gospels, John’s gospel, several apocryphal texts, and four famous paintings, all focussing on the character of Thomas, in search of the different ways in which these authors and artists try to fill in John’s apparent narrative gap.

Free download.