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Noli Me Tángere (Touch me Not) is a novel written by José Rizal, considered as one of the national heroes of the Philippines, during the colonization of the country by Spain to expose the inequities of the Spanish Catholic priests and the ruling government.
The title, in Latin meaning Touch me not, refers to John 20:17 in the Bible (King James Version) as Mary Magdalene tried to touch the newly risen Jesus, He said “Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father.” Early English translations of the novel used titles like An Eagle Flight (1900) and The Social Cancer (1912), disregarding the symbolism of the title, but the more recent translations were published using the original Latin title. It has also been noted by French writer D. Blumentritt that “Noli me tangere” was a name used by ophthalmologists for cancer of the eyelids. That as an ophthalmologist himself Rizal was influenced by this fact is suggested in his dedication, “To My Country”.
Originally written in Spanish, the book is more commonly published and read in the Philippines in either Filipino or English. Together with its sequel, El Filibusterismo, the reading of Noli is obligatory for high school students throughout the archipelago.
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