Friday, 24 May 2019

Florian Rösch: “Let us also go, that we may die with him” – The Memory of the Martyrdom of Thomas the Twin

The Thomasine utterance in Jn 11:16 seems to already predict the violent death of Thomas who encourages the disciples to join Jesus’ death. The martyrdom of Thomas himself is later narratively illustrated in the apocryphal Acts of Thomas (ATh). Early on ATh 6, when the apostle is beaten by a vintner, the text alludes to the Passion of Christ and hints at Thomasʼ final death.The martyrdom of Thomas as narrated in the ATh is significant in two ways. Firstly, Thomas as the earthly twin of Jesus suffers a highly similar passion to that of his master. This notion is evoked by parallels like the execution on a mountain, the transfixion of his body, the burial in a noble’s tomb as well as the killed apostleʼs post-mortem appearance. Secondly, ATh 170 – probably a secondary expansion to the martyrdomstory– serves as pourquoi story for the cult of the relicts of the apostle and their translation to Edessa where Thomas was particularly memorised.Based on these observations this paper aims to examine the function of the equation of Thomas’ death to that of Christ. Why did Syrian Christians remember the martyrdom of Thomas the Twin in such close connection to the Passion of Christ? Is it possible to draw any conclusions with the aid of ATh 170 and the mention of the holy relics on the memory communities behind the tradition of Thomas?

  • In this workshop, speakers will only give brief summaries of their papers. The draft papers will be circulated in advance to all participants. Please contact the organiser to have the PDFs sent to you by late July/early August.

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