The Tactile Heart is a collection of theological essays on relating blindness and faith and developing a theology of blindness that makes a constructive contribution to the wider field of disability theology. John Hull looks at key texts in the Christian tradition, such as the Bible, written as a text for sighted people, and at hymns, which often use blindness as a metaphor for ignorance and explores how these can be read by blind people.
Review from Gordon Temple (March 2015)
From the interplay of John’s theological reflection with his life experience of sight loss unique insights emerge.
In this intimate book we accompany John on two parallel journeys – his transition from sighted to blind and the development of his theology. For me the confluence of the two is most significance is the epiphany he describes when reflecting upon the account of Jesus being blindfold and taunted in the run up to the crucifixion. In this moment the sighted Jesus becomes his “blind brother”.
Losing the faculty of sight is akin to a close family bereavement. It’s loss experience and when the sight loss is progressive, as it was for John, it has the particularly unkind feature of bringing multiple loses as the world the person inhabits and to which he has become accultured and in which he has discovered a new beauty of a tactile kind.
With the deftness of his writing and the depth of his theological thinking John takes the reader into his world, and explores its scenery. This other world has given him a perspective on the sighted world in which most inhabit with every recognising it.