Doubting Thomas  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

A doubting Thomas is a skeptic who refuses to believe without direct, physical, personal evidence or experience—a reference to the Apostle Thomas, who refused to believe that the resurrected Jesus had appeared to the eleven other apostles, until he could see and feel the wounds received by Jesus on the cross.

In art the episode (formally called the Incredulity of Thomas) has been frequently depicted since at least the 5th century, with its depiction reflecting a range of theological interpretations.


The term is based on a Biblical account of Thomas the Apostle, who doubted the resurrection of Jesus and demanded to feel Jesus' wounds before being convinced (John 20:24-29), although the Bible does not mention if actual contact took place. After seeing Jesus alive and being offered the opportunity to touch his wounds—according to John, the author of the Gospel of John—,Thomas professed his faith in Jesus; on this account he is also called Thomas the Believer.

According to the Biblical account, Jesus then said "blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed", suggesting Jesus's preference was for faith over skepticism. Thomas was a very close friend of Jesus, but did not believe Jesus came back to life after he died on the cross.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Doubting Thomas" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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