Why the risen Jesus appeared to Thomas: An analysis of John 20:24--29 in the context of a synchronic reading of the Gospel

William L Bonney, Fordham University

Abstract

This dissertation explores the meaning of the doubting Thomas episode in John's Gospel (Jn. 20:24-29) from the point of view of the Gospel read as a literary whole. Biblical exegetes have traditionally viewed this passage either as a criticism of the manner by which Thomas attains his faith or as a proof of the palpability of Jesus' resurrected body. This dissertation finds that neither view does justice to John's work when the passage is seen against the backdrop of several major, christological themes which reoccur over the course of the Gospel. John expresses each of these themes in terms of the dynamic that exist between Jesus and each character he encounters in the Gospel. In this dynamic, each character acts as a foil who reveals some aspect of Jesus' identity. A reader who considers 20:24-29 in light of the manner in which Jesus is presented throughout the Gospel will see Jesus first and foremost, neither as a solid physical object nor as a critic of Thomas, but as one who purposefully transcends Thomas's worldly field of perception in order to bring him to faith in the Son of God. John thus presents Jesus as the real and active personality behind the Christian faith. ^

Subject Area

Religion, Biblical Studies

Recommended Citation

William L Bonney, "Why the risen Jesus appeared to Thomas: An analysis of John 20:24--29 in the context of a synchronic reading of the Gospel" (January 1, 1998). ETD Collection for Fordham University. Paper AAI9816342.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI9816342

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