Dr Louise Gosbell
Dr Louise Gosbell

Freed from Suffering

Taste, touch, hearing, smell and sight. The senses exist throughout the Gospels and are an important component of interactions with Jesus.

Dr Louise Gosbell will study the New Testament Gospels through the lens of sensory history, an emerging field that addresses the representation of the senses.

Louise’s research crosses the Ancient Cultures Research Centre and the Department of Cognitive Science, increasing collaboration between the two disciplines at Macquarie. She has been awarded a Cognitive Science and Ancient Cultures Research Centre Interdisciplinary Award to undertake this project.

Human-human and human-divine relationships within the Gospels rely on nuanced understandings of humanity that can be explored through the writers’ representations of sensory experience.

“What significance, if any, did the early church place on sensorial experience?” said Louise, “How was this experience altered if someone had a sensory deprivation? Although New Testament scholarship has noted the abundant use of sensory-related language in the gospels, in particular its metaphorical use in the Gospel of John, a dedicated work on the role of the senses in the Gospels and Early Christianity has not yet been produced. My project will fill this gap, providing a greater understanding of the Early Christian interpretation of the role of the senses in responding to Jesus and/or the subsequent Jesus movement”.

Louise completed her PhD this year at Macquarie, and was supervised by Professor Larry Welborn (Fordham University, New York). Her thesis was titled “The Poor, the Crippled, the Blind, and the Lame: Physical and Sensory Disability in the Gospels of the New Testament”.

In her new interdisciplinary project she will be working with Professor Amanda Barnier (Dept. of  Cognitive Science) and Dr Linda Evans (Dept. of Ancient History. Louise’s Award is one of three made by the Ancient Cultures Research Centre to support excellent Early Career Researchers.