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Pagan Origin of Partialist Doctrines by Pitrat

Tatian believed in Metempsychosis


According

to the testimony of Diodore, and of Herodote, the Egyptians believed in Metempsychosis; and it was an immemorial doctrine among them. Also, many of them believed that their bodies would come again to life, after a sojourn of one thousand years in the grave. The Sybilline verses treat of the resurrection of the body. Much has been written about it by Bocchus, in Solin, chap. 8; and by Lactance, book 7, chap. 29, book 4, chap. 15, 18, and 19. The Stoicians, who were the most learned philosophers of antiquity, and in the three centuries which preceded the coming of Jesus Christ, and also in the three that followed, believed in Metempsychosis; however, a portion of their school believed in the resurrection of the body. Of this we are informed by Seneca, Epist. 40; by Laerta, book 7; and by Plutarch, writing on the Resignation of the Stoicians.

Pliny, deriding Democrite, informs us that this philosopher believed in the resurrection of the body; see book 7, chap. 45, where he says: "Vain is the promise made by Democrite that we will live again." The doctrine of the resurrection of the body is taught in these verses of Phocylides about the remains of the dead:

"[Greek: Ou kalon harmonien analyemen anthropoio; Kai tacha d' ek gaies elpizomen es phaos elthein Leipsan' apoichomenon opiso te theoi telethontai.]"

Translation:--"It is impious to disperse the remains

of man; for the ashes and the bones of the dead will come again to light, and will become similar to the gods."

Virgil speaks of the resurrection of the body, though in an obscure manner, in the sixth book of his poem Eneida.

Therefore in the first centuries of the Christian era, and before the coming of Jesus Christ, the doctrine of the resurrection of the body was held by a large number of Pagans.

2d. It can be proved that the Church of Rome, which, in the sixteenth century, transmitted the doctrine of the resurrection of the body to the now self-called Orthodox Christian Churches, did not hold it from the apostles of Jesus Christ:--

It will be evident that the Church of Rome did not hold the doctrine of the resurrection of the body from the apostles of Jesus Christ, if it can be proved, 1st, That the Fathers of the first centuries did not agree on this doctrine; 2d, That nearly all the Christian denominations of the first two centuries, and the majority, to say the least, of those of the century following, disbelieved it; and, 3d, That this doctrine is irrational.

But it can be proved, 1st, That the Fathers of the first centuries did not agree about the doctrine of the resurrection of the body; 2d, That nearly all the Christian denominations of the first two centuries, and the majority, to say the least, of the century following, disbelieved it; and, 3d, That this doctrine is irrational.

1st. It can be proved that the Fathers of the first centuries did not agree about the doctrine of the resurrection of the body.

Tatian believed in Metempsychosis, but not in the resurrection of the body. St. Gregory of Nysse denied that there was anything corporeal in the person of Jesus Christ, since the time he ascended to the heavens. Origen admitted the resurrection of the bodies, but not that of the flesh. Synesius, bishop of Ptolemaida, in his Series of Epistles, declares that the doctrine of the resurrection of the body is a mystery, whose solution ought to be kept secret, and considered as sacred: that it is well to teach it to the people; and that he, the bishop, would publicly profess and preach this doctrine, though it is not his personal belief. If the reader desires to find lengthier particulars, about the divergency of the opinions of the Fathers concerning the doctrine of the resurrection of the body, we refer him to the work of Beausobre, headed, History of Manicheanism, tome 2, book 8, chap. 5, No. 3, and following.


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