CADRE Comments

A Rational Look at Christianity; Basing Reason in Truth

In a series of posts, I have began questioning Mr. Carrier's argument that Paul believed in a two-body resurrection doctrine that left the original dead body rotting in the grave. This conveniently plays into Mr. Carrier's avowed hostility to Christianity, but it has had no scholarly support. Scholars recognize that resurrection means the raising of the dead body back to life (albiet transformed and improved).

So, Mr. Carrier himself has tried to make the case, though within the first four pages of his article he distorts the views of various Jewish sects (Herodians, Scribes, Qumran & Essenes, and Sadducees) and the The Assumption of Moses to make his case. As I turned my attention to Mr. Carrier's discussion of the views of Philo, who Mr. Carrier claims held "just such a view" as his proposed two-body resurrection doctrine, I was not surprised to see the flawed analysis continue.

I will turn to the core of his argument in another post, but for now I want to focus on Mr. Carrier's assertion that "Philo does on occasion refer to his theory of salvation as 'resurrection.'" The Empty Tomb, page 202 n. 34. I was surprised to find this in an endnote. Why would Mr. Carrier tuck away such a potentially helpful point in an endnote? Afterall, one of the hurdles Mr. Carrier has to clear is the fact that scholars view Philo as a Jew who has no place for "resurrection" at all, instead adopting the Greek view of the immortality of the soul. If Philo does talk about his view of immortailty as "resurrection," Mr. Carrier's argument might be strengthened.

The term in Philo's writings that Mr. Carrier translates "resurrection" is paliggenesia. Being a novice in matters Greek and Philo, I relied heavily on my scholarly resources (secondary sources, Lexicons, Bibleworks 6.0) to check this claim.

I started by checking the source Mr. Carrier cited in support of his claim that Philo refers to "resurrection" on occasion. That source is F. Burnett, "Philo on Immortality: A Thematic Study of Philo's Concept of paliggenesia," CBQ 46 (1984), pages 447-70. This reference surprised me because Burnett's article was playing an important part in my research for an article responding to Mr. Carrier's use of Philo. Mr. Carrier offers no pinpoint citation, so perhaps I am missing something, but taken as a whole Burnett's article contradicts, rather than supports, Mr. Carrier's translation.

Just after citing Burnett, Mr. Carrier argues that the "clearest example" of the reference to resurrection by Philo was De Cherubim 114-15, which Mr. Carrier translates: "we who are akin to those with bodies will not exist, but we who are akin to those without bodies will hasten to resurrection."

Mr. Carrier gives no citation for his translation so perhaps it is his own. It is not, however, the translation that Professor Burnett uses. According to Burnett, the same passage states that we "shall go forward to our rebirth." In several other places in his article Prof. Burnett translates paliggenesia to mean "rebirth." As he says in one place, "Philo seems to reserve the term paliggenesia for the soul's rebirth after literal death." Burnett, op. cit., page 456. Thus, the article cited by Mr. Carrier contradicts his translation.

The indispensible Peter Kirby provides online the translation of Charles Yonge, which translates the phrase thus, "we shall then be hastening to a regeneration." No help there.

So then I checked to see if paliggenesia appears in any New Testament writing as meaning "resurrection." Thayer's Lexicon says it means "new birth,
reproduction, renewal, re-creation," but never says it means resurrection. The preferred term for "resurrection" in the New Testament is anastasis. Egeiro and its morphs are also used to refer to being “raised” from the dead. Nowhere in the New Testament is paliggenesia used to mean resurrection. In fact, the term only appears twice. Matt. 19:28 uses it to refer to the renewal or regeneration of all things. Titus 3.5 uses it to say, "by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit." Paul uses anastasis and egeiro, but never paliggenesia to refer to resurrection. Thus, even if Mr. Carrier could find some support for translating paliggenesia to mean resurrection, it would be of questionable worth given that Paul never uses that term.

How about the Apostolic Fathers? I found one mention of paliggenesias in 1 Clement, but it does not refer to resurrection but to the "second birth" of the world after the great flood. I found no mention anywhere else in 1 Clement, Ignatius's letters, Barnabas, or Polycarp. If someone has information otherwise I would appreciate a reference. Anastasis, on the other hand, is commonly used by the Apostolic Fathers to refer to resurrection.

I also checked the LXX and found no references to paliggenesia, though I am new to Greek and the LXX. The LXX, it seems, prefers anastasis as well. If anyone has contrary references, please let me know.

Finally, I checked Josephus' works and found one reference to paliggenesia at Ant. 11:66, speaking of the "restoration of their country." I found no other references.

In sum, the secondary source relied on by Mr. Carrier contradicts his translation. Philo refers to rebirth or regeneration as the process of the soul escaping the dead body. I could find no support for Mr. Carrier's translation in the New Testament, the Apostolic Fathers, the LXX, or Josephus. Philo does not appear to refer to resurrection linguistically or conceptually.

4 comments:

'Nowhere in the New Testament is paliggenesia used to mean resurrection. In fact, the term only appears twice. Matt. 19:28 uses it to refer to the renewal or regeneration of all things.'

Presumably when bodies are renewed or regenerated, they won't be resurrected.

My lexicon says :-

'1) new birth, reproduction, renewal, recreation, regeneration

a) hence renovation, regeneration, the production of a new life consecrated to God, a radical change of mind for the better. The word often used to denote the restoration of a thing to its pristine state, its renovation, as a renewal or restoration of life after death'

'....A restoration of life after death...' Interesting.....


'Anastasis, on the other hand, is commonly used by the Apostolic Fathers to refer to resurrection.'

Presumably, they also use it about other people than Jesus, who they considered to have undergone a process of anastasis.


JP Holding has an interesting comment here http://www.tektonics.org/tsr/tsr914_CC1.html 'First-century Judaism was a highly diverse phenomenon, as becomes apparent from a comparison of the writings of Philo, Josephus, Qumran, the (traditions of the) rabbis and the early Christians.'

Carr,

You have offered not one example of paliggenesia being translated as resurrection. Instead, you - as usual - confuse the issue. Of course paliggenesia can be used to refer to the afterlife. I talk all about how Philo uses it to refer to the rebirth of the human soul -- incorporeal and bodiless -- after death. But Philo never uses any of the words Jews -- and especially Christians -- were using to refer to resurrection. The afterlife can be described in different ways -- resurrection, rebirth, reincarnation, immortality, renewal -- but Mr. Carrier claimed one of the ways Philo does describe it is as resurrection. Philo certainly does not.

Unless Mr. Carr can provide an example of a Christian using paliggensia using to describe resurrection. I'd even be interested if Mr. Carr can find such usage by a Jewish writer.

I am not sure what your point is about the Apostolic Fathers. If you have some references, please provide them. The point is that anastasis is the common word for resurrection used by early Christian and Jewish writers. Paliggenesia was used by Philo to mean rebirth of the soul, but most other Christian and Jews used it more generally to refer to some sort of renewal.

Nice to see your admiration for JP Holding has grown. Yes, there are differences between Philo, Josephus, Qumran, the rabbis, and early Christianity. But Sadducees likely believed in angels, Scribes were not a distinct religious sect, the Qumran Community were likely Essenes, and the Herodians were not a religious sect. All of which were things that Mr. Carrier got wrong in his section attempting to enhance the picture of Jewish diversity.

Acts 23:8

(The Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, and that there are neither angels nor spirits, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all.)

All Layman has to do is show one Christian writer who uses the word 'anggelos' to refer to people in an afterlife.

A much harder task than showing that when Matthew says all things would be regenerated, he had no concept of a resurrection in mind.

As a small point, 'Anastasis' is used by Christians to refer to what Layman denies are resurrections. It is not a word which just means resurrection. The idea that people made word distinctions between resurrections and a mere raising to life is not a strong idea.

And I really don't know why Layman is so convinced that a restoration of life after death cannot be referred to as a resurrection. I gave the lexicon entry which showed that the word Carrier uses does mean a restoration of life after death. 'Resurrection' is good shorthand term for such a thing.

"(The Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, and that there are neither angels nor spirits, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all.)

All Layman has to do is show one Christian writer who uses the word 'anggelos' to refer to people in an afterlife."


I did. More than that actually. I showed that the same writer uses "angels" to refer to humans in the intermediate state: Acts 12:15.

And I do not deny that context may sometimes lead us to adopt a meaning of a word that is not found exactly elsewhere. But that hardly helps Mr. Carrier since he doesn't try and make any case from context but instead makes the argument definitionally by claiming that, "Philo does on occasion refer to his theory of salvation as 'resurrection.'"

He then sites a secondary source that contradicts his point and says that the term is used by Philo only to refer to rebirth.

Obviously Mr. Carrier is claiming that Philo uses the term "resurrection" when he uses a term that no one else but Mr. Carrier translates as "resurrection." We already know and agree with Mr. Carrier that Philo envisions some form of existence after death by some human beings. By also claiming that Philo uses the term "resurrection" on occasion Mr. Carrier is claiming something more than simply that Philo used a word to indicate the afterlife, he must be claiming that Philo used a term others used to mean resurrection. But as I have shown, that does not appear to be the case. The term is never used by Jews or Christians, or at least not in any of the literature we have left, to mean resurrection.

"A much harder task than showing that when Matthew says all things would be regenerated, he had no concept of a resurrection in mind."

Not hard at all since I have done so. And Matthew is quite clearly not talking about the afterlife for humans when he uses the term. He is talking about a regeneration of the entire universe. Matthew discusses "resurrection" of human beings plenty and he never uses palligenesia to describe that event.

As a small point, 'Anastasis' is used by Christians to refer to what Layman denies are resurrections. It is not a word which just means resurrection. The idea that people made word distinctions between resurrections and a mere raising to life is not a strong idea.

Please give us examples of

a) these uses of anastasis, and
b) my statements that they are not resurrections.

It is not clear to me if you are referring to what are often distinguished as resuscitations or something else. I do not remember claiming that anastasis was never used for such "raisings" though I have distinguished between simply being raised from the dead and the resurrection of Jesus and future resurrection anticipated by Jews and Christians.

Nor is it remotely obvious what this has to do with supporting Mr. Carrier's claim that Philo uses the term "resurrection." I do not claim that the term can only mean a specific type of embodied afterlife, but merely that the term is favored by Christians to mean an embodied afterlife. In other words, if Philo had used the term, Mr. Carrier's argument would be stronger, even though context may show us that Philo used it differently than Christians did.

"And I really don't know why Layman is so convinced that a restoration of life after death cannot be referred to as a resurrection. I gave the lexicon entry which showed that the word Carrier uses does mean a restoration of life after death. 'Resurrection' is good shorthand term for such a thing."

Because you and Mr. Carrier know full well that resurrection necessarily implicates the body in resurrection, whereas the rebirth of the human soul after death does not. Believing that the human soul may be immortal is not the same thing as believing that the afterlife is am embodied state.

Mr. Carrier is trying to find evidence for his "two-body resurrection doctrine" and he knows that simple soul survival is not enough to prove that. So he misrepresented Philo's use of paliggenesia to claim that Philo uses a term that we and the Jews and Christians and probably Greeks of the first century would have related to an embodied afterlife. No such usage has been presented. Additionally, Mr. Carrier misrepresented his secondary source on this issue, claiming that Mr. Burnett supported the idea that Philo used the term to mean resurrection when what Mr. Burnett actually writes is: "Philo seems to reserve the term paliggenesia for the soul's rebirth after literal death." Burnett, op. cit., page 456.

In short, Mr. Carrier's claim that Philo uses the term "resurrection" was erroneous, is contradicted by the article he cites as support, translations of Philo, and the fact that no one else uses that term to refer to what he and you and I mean when we say "resurrection" -- the afterlife in an embodied state. I would argue that the term is used specifically to refer to the raising of the body into the afterlife, but I realize that is the ultimate point Mr. Carrier is trying to make.

How does it support Mr. Carrier's argument that Philo believed in the embodied afterlife of humans like Paul is alleged to have believed in when Philo uses a term for that afterlife that neither Paul nor anyone else used to imply the embodied afterlife for humans? More specifically, the terms seem to imply the means by which the human being entered into that afterlife, with resurrection describing embodied afterlife and rebirth used by Philo to mean the soul's liberation from the human body and an incorporeal and bodiless afterlife.

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