Touching (on) Death: On ‘Being Toward’ the Other in the Gospel of Luke

Anne Elvey


This article brings thinking on the phenomenology of touch into dialogue with representations of touch in the Gospel of Luke. The ecojustice principle of interconnectedness forms a basis for moving between touch as a phenomenon, representations of touch, and the touch of texts. I focus on a Lukan pattern where touch is a mark of compassionate responsiveness such that in touching the other one touches (on) death. This pattern offers a particular phenomenology of touch which I bring into conversation with contemporary thinking about touch (Derrida and Nancy) to consider the capacity of the Lukan text to touch. How does the Gospel of Luke touch its readers in touching (on) death? In touching (on) death, how does the Gospel of Luke affect bodies and earth, phenomena whose givenness encompasses the material necessity of death? What are the implications for an ex-scriptive reading, which reads from and toward the ‘outside’ of writing signified by death? The article proposes a kind of reading which, touched by the otherness of death, consents to the body and so to the reality of human mortality.


death, touch; LUke; Jacques Derrida; Jean-Luc Nancy

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Bible and Critical Theory: ISSN 1832-3391