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"The beauty of Jesus and his twin: redirected erotics in the Acts of Thomas"

Playoust, Catherine (2014) "The beauty of Jesus and his twin: redirected erotics in the Acts of Thomas". In: The Levant: Crossroads of Late Antiquity: History, Religion and Archaeology. McGill University Monographs in Classical Archaeology and History (22). Brill, Leiden, Netherlands, pp. 35-63. ISBN 9789004258266

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The third-century Syrian text known as the Acts of Thomas places great emphasis on sexual continence, even within marriage. However, it does not relinquish the conventional pairing of ugliness with evil and beauty with goodness. Instead, human beauty is trumped by that of Jesus, with whom both women and men fall in love. Such features are not unusual in Early Christianity, but in the Acts of Thomas they are modulated by a distinctive feature of the text, that Saint Thomas is Jesus’ twin, with beauty of his own. Firstly, Thomas’s beauty enhances his drawing power as a missionary, since the desire of new converts seems often to be directed toward him as much as Jesus. Secondly, Jesus’ change to an unsightly form in the incarnation paves the way for the heavenly destiny of believers, represented by the beautiful Thomas, with their brother, lord, and bridegroom.

Item Type: Book Chapters
Additional Information: Catherine Playoust was on the faculty of the UFT (JTC) at the time of publication; she moved to CTC in 2015. Scholars are welcome to request a copy of the article from the author by email.
Repository Version: Published Version
Keywords: Acts of Thomas, eros, desire, love, twin, apocryphal acts, beauty, sexual continence
Fields of Research: 22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2204 Religion and Religious Studies > 220401 Christian Studies (incl. Biblical Studies and Church History)
Socio-Economic Objective: ?? 950502 ??
E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970122 Expanding Knowledge in Philosophy and Religious Studies
Type of Activity: Pure Basic Research
Subjects: C - Church History
College/Association with University of Divinity: UFT-JTC: United Faculty of Theology - Jesuit Theological College
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Depositing User: Dr Catherine Playoust
Date Deposited: 19 May 2016 04:12
Last Modified: 24 Mar 2018 01:31
URI: http://repository.divinity.edu.au/id/eprint/1916

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