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When Did We See You Naked?

Santo Sprito    
Photo by Alexandra Korey ©

Meet the Researchers

This is a Centre for Theology and Public Issues Leading Thinker project, led by Prof. David Tombs. David will be working with Dr Rocio Figueroa at Good Shepherd College, Auckland, Dr Jayme Reaves and other international partners. 

Project Introduction

How can churches and church agencies offer an appropriate and effective response to sexual violence in its many different forms? This project will examine the opportunities and challenges of better faith-based responses to sexual violence, and how biblical and theological resources can guide and support these. Areas of particular importance include how churches might address victim blaming and secondary victimization.

As a focal point, the work will take up the question posed in Matthew 25 'When Did We See You Naked?' (Mt. 25.38) and build on earlier work including David's 'Crucifixion, State Terror, and Sexual Abuse' (1999), his 2015 Inaugural Professorial Lecture, his contributions to the Shiloh Project, and the 2016 CTPI project by David and Rocio on Listening to Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse.

This next stage of the project will explore Mark 15.16-24 and other texts to address the stripping and forced naked exposure of Jesus prior to, and during, crucifixion. It will use facilitated contextual bible studies to investigate why the sexualised element of this humiliation is rarely named or seen as important, and how acknowledgement of these texts might contribute to better church responses to sexual violence.

Project Events 2018

Tuesday 16 January 2018. Shiloh Lecture. Jayme Reaves and David Tombs, '#MeToo Jesus: Why Naming Jesus as a Victim of Sexual Abuse Matters', Sheffield Institute for Interdisciplinary Biblical Studies, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom.
Read more here or view a recording of the lecture

Wednesday 17 January 2018. Research Seminar. Jayme Reaves and David Tombs 'Acknowledging the Sexual Abuse of Crucifixion: #MeToo as an Invitation to a New Conversation', Queen's Theological Foundation, Birmingham, United Kingdom.

Sunday 21 January 2018. BBC Radio Sheffield Interview. Jayme Reaves and David Tombs interviewed by Kat Cowan.

Friday 9 March 2018. Public lecture. David Tombs, 'When Did We See You Naked?', St Paul's Cathedral, Wellington. Read more here.

Saturday 10 March 2018. Bible study. 'Stigma and Silence in Scripture'; Panel discussion. 'Breaking Silence, Stopping Violence'

Friday 26 April 2018. Public lecture. Michael Trainor, 'The Body of Jesus and Sexual Abuse'. Good Shepherd College, Auckland.

Saturday 27 April 2018. Symposium. 'Theologians Respond to Sexual Abuse'. Good Shepherd College, Auckland. By invitation.

Tuesday 5 June 2018. Public lecture, Bronwyn Kerr and David Tombs, '#MeToo and the Church: Responses to Sexual Violence' St John's Church, Wellington.

Monday 9 July 2018.  Public lecture, 'Church Responses to Violence Against Women', Commencement Address, St Mark's National Theological Centre, Canberra.

Friday 13 July 2018.  Public lecture. David Tombs, 'Crucifixion, Silence, and Sexual Abuse: Reading Mark 15:16-24 alongside the final report of the Australian Royal Commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse', United Theological College, Sydney.


Katie B Edwards and David Tombs. #HimToo – why Jesus should be recognised as a victim of sexual violence.
The Conversation, 23 March 2018.

David Tombs, ‘Should the stripping of Jesus be labelled sexual abuse?’, Otago Daily Times (16 February 2017).

Media Coverage

Kaya Burgess, #HimToo: Jesus was a sex abuse victim, say scholars, The Times, 27 March 2018

Linda Woodhead, Is Jesus the latest - or was he the first - victim of #MeToo?, The Telegraph, 27 March 2018

The New Zealand Herald reprinted coverage from the Daily Mail, #HimToo article says at Easter we should remember Jesus was victim of sexual violence, New Zealand Herald, 28 March 2018

John Blake, How Easter became a #MeToo moment, CNN, 31 March 2018

The project is funded through the University of Otago Leading Thinkers Initiative, which was established under the government's Partnerships for Excellence Framework to support world-class scholarship at Otago.