DOUBTING THOMAS

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Harvard University Press, 2005 - Religion - 267 pages
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About the disciple known as Doubting Thomas, everyone knows at least this much: he stuck his finger into the risen Jesus' wounds. Or did he? A fresh look at the Gospel of John reveals how little we may really understand about this most perplexing of biblical figures, and how much we might learn from the strange twists and turns Thomas's story has taken over time.

From the New Testament, Glenn W. Most traces Thomas's permutations through the centuries: as Gnostic saint, missionary to India, paragon of Christian orthodoxy, hero of skepticism, and negative example of doubt, blasphemy, stupidity, and violence. Rife with paradoxes and tensions, these creative transformations at the hands of storytellers, theologians, and artists tell us a great deal about the complex relations between texts and their interpretations--and about faith, love, personal identity, the body, and twins, among other matters.

Doubting Thomas begins with a close reading of chapter 20 of the Gospel of John, set against the conclusions of the other Gospels, and ends with a detailed analysis of the painting of this subject by Caravaggio, setting it within the pictorial traditions of late antiquity, the Middle Ages, and the Renaissance. Along the way, Most considers narrative reactions to John's account by storytellers of various religious persuasions, and Christian theologians' interpretations of John 20 from the second century ad until the Counter-Reformation. His work shows how Thomas's story, in its many guises, touches upon central questions of religion, philosophy, hermeneutics, and, not least, life.

  

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Doubting Thomas

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Most (social thought, Univ. of Chicago) begins with a close reading of John's Gospel, Chapter 20, where the disciple known as "Doubting Thomas" is portrayed. He then provides a history of and ... Read full review

Contents

Seeing and Believing
3
The Synoptic Gospels
12
The Gospel of John
28
Touching a God
69
RESPONSES AND DEVELOPMENTS
75
Sources and Reflections
77
The Apocrypha and Beyond
82
From the Church Fathers to the CounterReformation
122
Thomas in Sacred Images
155
The Holy Finger
215
Afterword
223
Bibliographical Essays
229
Illustration Credits
257
Indexes
259
Copyright

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About the author (2005)

Glenn W. Most is Professor of Greek Philology, Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, and Professor of Social Thought, University of Chicago.

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