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Resurrection or anastasis is the concept of coming back to life after death. In a number of religions, a dying-and-rising god is a deity which dies and resurrects. Reincarnation is a similar process hypothesized by other religions, which involves the same person or deity coming back to live in a different body, rather than the same one.

The resurrection of the dead is a standard eschatological belief in the Abrahamic religions. As a religious concept, it is used in two distinct respects: a belief in the resurrection of individual souls that is current and ongoing (Christian idealism, realized eschatology), or else a belief in a singular resurrection of the dead at the end of the world. Some believe the soul is the actual vehicle by which people are resurrected.[1]

The death and resurrection of Jesus is a central focus of Christianity. Christian theological debate ensues with regard to what kind of resurrection is factual – either a spiritual resurrection with a spirit body into Heaven, or a material resurrection with a restored human body.[2] While most Christians believe Jesus' resurrection from the dead and ascension to Heaven was in a material body, a very small minority[citation needed] believes it was spiritual.[3][4][5]

Etymology

Resurrection, from the Latin noun resurrectio -onis, from the verb rego, "to make straight, rule" + preposition sub, "under", altered to subrigo and contracted to surgo, surrexi, surrectum ("to rise", "get up", "stand up"[6]) + preposition re-, "again",[7] thus literally "a straightening from under again".

Religion

Ancient religions in the Near East

The concept of resurrection is found in the writings of some ancient non-Abrahamic religions in the Middle East. A few extant Egyptian and Canaanite writings allude to dying and rising gods such as Osiris and Baal. Sir James Frazer in his book The Golden Bough relates to these dying and rising gods,[8] but many of his examples, according to various scholars, distort the sources.[9] Taking a more positive position, Tryggve Mettinger argues in his recent book that the category of rise and return to life is significant for Ugaritic Baal, Melqart, Adonis, Eshmun, Osiris and Dumuzi.[10]

Ancient Greek religion

In ancient Greek religion a number of men and women became physically immortal as they were resurrected from the dead. Asclepius was killed by Zeus, only to be resurrected and transformed into a major deity. Achilles, after being killed, was snatched from his funeral pyre by his divine mother Thetis and resurrected, brought to an immortal existence in either Leuce, the Elysian plains or the Islands of the Blessed. Memnon, who was killed by Achilles, seems to have received a similar fate. Alcmene, Castor, Heracles, and Melicertes, were also among the figures sometimes considered to have been resurrected to physical immortality. According to Herodotus's Histories, the seventh century BC sage Aristeas of Proconnesus was first found dead, after which his body disappeared from a locked room. Later he found not only to have been resurrected but to have gained immortality.[11]

Many other figures, like a great part of those who fought in the Trojan and Theban wars, Menelaus, and the historical pugilist Cleomedes of Astupalaea, were also believed to have been made physically immortal, but without having died in the first place. Indeed, in Greek religion, immortality originally always included an eternal union of body and soul.[12] The philosophical idea of an immortal soul was a later invention, which, although influential, never had a breakthrough in the Greek world. As may be witnessed even into the The resurrection of the dead is a standard eschatological belief in the Abrahamic religions. As a religious concept, it is used in two distinct respects: a belief in the resurrection of individual souls that is current and ongoing (Christian idealism, realized eschatology), or else a belief in a singular resurrection of the dead at the end of the world. Some believe the soul is the actual vehicle by which people are resurrected.[1]

The death and resurrection of Jesus is a central focus of Christianity. Christian theological debate ensues with regard to what kind of resurrection is factual – either a spiritual resurrection with a spirit body into Heaven, or a material resurrection with a restored human body.[2] While most Christians believe Jesus' resurrection from the dead and ascension to Heaven was in a material body, a very small minority[citation needed] believes it was spiritual.[3][4][5]

Resurrection, from the Latin noun resurrectio -onis, from the verb rego, "to make straight, rule" + preposition sub, "under", altered to subrigo and contracted to surgo, surrexi, surrectum ("to rise", "get up", "stand up"[6]) + preposition re-, "again",[7] thus literally "a straightening from under again".

Religion

Ancient religions in the Near East

The concept of resurrection is found in the writings of some ancient non-Abrahamic religions in the Middle East. A few extant Egyptian and Canaanite writings allude to dying and rising gods such as Osiris and Baal. Sir James Frazer in his book The Golden Bough relates to these dying and rising gods,[8] but many of his examples, according to various scholars, distort the sources.[9] Taking a more positive position, Tryggve Mettinger argues in his recent book that the category of rise and return to life is significant for Ugaritic Baal, Melqart, Adonis, Eshmun, Osiris and Dumuzi.[10]

Ancient Greek religion

In ancient Greek religion a number of men and women became physically immortal as they were resurrected from the dead. Asclepius was killed by Zeus, only to be resurrected and transformed into a major deity. Achilles, after being killed, was snatched from his funeral pyre by his divine mother Thetis and resurrected, brought to an immortal existence in either Leuce, the Elysian plains or the Islands of the Blessed. Memnon, who was killed by Achilles, seems to have received a similar fate. The concept of resurrection is found in the writings of some ancient non-Abrahamic religions in the Middle East. A few extant Egyptian and Canaanite writings allude to dying and rising gods such as Osiris and Baal. Sir James Frazer in his book The Golden Bough relates to these dying and rising gods,[8] but many of his examples, according to various scholars, distort the sources.[9] Taking a more positive position, Tryggve Mettinger argues in his recent book that the category of rise and return to life is significant for Ugaritic Baal, Melqart, Adonis, Eshmun, Osiris and Dumuzi.[10]

Ancient Greek religion

In ancient Greek religion a number of men and women became physically immortal as they were resurrected from the dead. Asclepius was killed by Zeus, only to be resurrected and transformed into a major deity. Achilles, after being killed, was snatched from his funeral pyre by hi

In ancient Greek religion a number of men and women became physically immortal as they were resurrected from the dead. Asclepius was killed by Zeus, only to be resurrected and transformed into a major deity. Achilles, after being killed, was snatched from his funeral pyre by his divine mother Thetis and resurrected, brought to an immortal existence in either Leuce, the Elysian plains or the Islands of the Blessed. Memnon, who was killed by Achilles, seems to have received a similar fate. Alcmene, Castor, Heracles, and Melicertes, were also among the figures sometimes considered to have been resurrected to physical immortality. According to Herodotus's Histories, the seventh century BC sage Aristeas of Proconnesus was first found dead, after which his body disappeared from a locked room. Later he found not only to have been resurrected but to have gained immortality.[11]

Many other figures, like a great part of those who fought in the Trojan and Theban wars, Menelaus, and the historical pugilist Cleomedes of Astupalaea, were also believed to have been made physically immortal, but without hav

Many other figures, like a great part of those who fought in the Trojan and Theban wars, Menelaus, and the historical pugilist Cleomedes of Astupalaea, were also believed to have been made physically immortal, but without having died in the first place. Indeed, in Greek religion, immortality originally always included an eternal union of body and soul.[12] The philosophical idea of an immortal soul was a later invention, which, although influential, never had a breakthrough in the Greek world. As may be witnessed even into the Christian era, not least by the complaints of various philosophers over popular beliefs, traditional Greek believers maintained the conviction that certain individuals were resurrected from the dead and made physically immortal and that for the rest of us, we could only look forward to an existence as disembodied and dead souls.[13]

Greek philosophers generally denied this traditional religious belief in physical immortality. Writing his Lives of Illustrious Men (Parallel Lives) in the first century, the Middle Platonic philosopher Plutarch in his chapter on Romulus gave an account of the mysterious disappearance and subsequent deification of this first king of Rome, comparing it to traditional Greek beliefs such as the resurrection and physical immortalization of Alcmene and Aristeas the Proconnesian, "for they say Aristeas died in a fuller's work-shop, and his friends coming to look for him, found his body vanished; and that some presently after, coming from abroad, said they met him traveling towards Croton". Plutarch openly scorned such beliefs held in traditional ancient Greek religion, writing, "many such improbabilities do your fabulous writers relate, deifying creatures naturally mortal."

Alcestis undergoes resurrection over a three-day period of time,[14] but without achieving immortality.[15]

The parallel between these traditional beliefs and the later resurrection of Jesus was not lost on the early Christians, as Justin Martyr argued: "when we say ... Jesus Christ, our teacher, was crucified and died, and rose again, and ascended into heaven, we propose nothing different from what you believe regarding those whom you consider sons of Zeus." (1 Apol. 21).

There are stories in Buddhism where the power of resurrection was allegedly demonstrated in Chan or Zen tradition. One is the legend of Bodhidharma[citation needed], the Indian master who brought the Ekayana school of India that subsequently became Chan Buddhism to China.

The other is the passing of Chinese Chan master Puhua (Japanese:Jinshu Fuke) and is recounted in the Record of Linji (Japanese: Rinzai Gigen). Puhua was known for his unusual behavior and teaching style so it is no wonder that he is associated with an event that breaks the usual prohibition on displaying such powers. Here is the account from Irmgard Schloegl's "The Zen Teach

The other is the passing of Chinese Chan master Puhua (Japanese:Jinshu Fuke) and is recounted in the Record of Linji (Japanese: Rinzai Gigen). Puhua was known for his unusual behavior and teaching style so it is no wonder that he is associated with an event that breaks the usual prohibition on displaying such powers. Here is the account from Irmgard Schloegl's "The Zen Teaching of Rinzai".

"One day at the street market Fuke was begging all and sundry to give him a robe. Everybody offered him one, but he did not want any of them. The master [Linji] made the superior buy a coffin, and when Fuke returned, said to him: "There, I had this robe made for you." Fuke shouldered the coffin, and went back to the street market, calling loudly: "Rinzai had this robe made for me! I am off to the East Gate to enter transformation" (to die)." The people of the market crowded after him, eager to look. Fuke said: "No, not today. Tomorrow, I shall go to the South Gate to enter transformation." And so for three days. Nobody believed it any longer. On the fourth day, and now without any spectators, Fuke went alone outside the city walls, and laid himself into the coffin. He asked a traveler who chanced by to nail down the lid.

The news spread at once, and the people of the market rushed there. On opening the coffin, they found that the body had vanished, but from high up in the sky they heard the ring of his hand bell."[16]

The news spread at once, and the people of the market rushed there. On opening the coffin, they found that the body had vanished, but from high up in the sky they heard the ring of his hand bell."[16]

In Christianity, resurrection most critically concerns the resurrection of Jesus, but also includes the resurrection of Judgment Day known as the resurrection of the dead by those Christians who subscribe to the Nicene Creed (which is the majority or mainstream Christianity), as well as the resurrection miracles done by Jesus and the prophets of the Old Testament.

Resurrection miracles

Christianity started as a religious movement within 1st-century Judaism (late Second Temple Judaism), and it retains what the New Testament itself claims was the Pharisaic belief in the afterlife and resurrection of the dead. Whereas this belief was on

If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.[19]

Resurrection of the deadSecond Temple Judaism), and it retains what the New Testament itself claims was the Pharisaic belief in the afterlife and resurrection of the dead. Whereas this belief was only one of many beliefs held about the world to come in Second Temple Judaism, and was notably rejected by the Sadducees, but accepted by the Pharisees (cf. Acts 23:6-8). Belief in the resurrection became dominant within Early Christianity and already in the Gospels of Luke and John included an insistence on the resurrection of the flesh. Most modern Christian churches continue to uphold the belief that there will be a final resurrection of the dead and world to come.

Belief in the resurrection of the dead, and Jesus' role as judge, is codified in the Apostles' Creed, which is the fundamental creed of Christian baptismal faith. The Book of Revelation also makes many references about the Day of Judgment when the dead will be raised.

The emphasis on the literal resurrection of the flesh remained strong in the medieval ages, and still remains so in Orthodox churches.[20

Belief in the resurrection of the dead, and Jesus' role as judge, is codified in the Apostles' Creed, which is the fundamental creed of Christian baptismal faith. The Book of Revelation also makes many references about the Day of Judgment when the dead will be raised.

The emphasis on the literal resurrection of the flesh remained strong in the medieval ages, and still remains so in Orthodox churches.[20] In modern Western Christianity, especially "from the 17th to the 19th century, the language of popular piety no longer evoked the resurrection of the soul but everlasting life. Although theological textbooks still mentioned resurrection, they dealt with it as a speculative question more than as an existential problem."[21]

In Platonic philosophy and other Greek philosophical thought, at death the soul was said to leave the inferior body behind. The idea that Jesus was resurrected spiritually rather than physically even gained popularity among some Christian teachers, whom the author of 1 John declared to be antichrists. Similar beliefs appeared in the early church as Gnosticism. However, in Luke 24:39, the resurrected Jesus expressly states "behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Handle me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have."

Hinduism