:"This article concerns itself with Jesus Christ, Christian, Islamic and other religious interpretations of resurrection in general. For the restoration of humanity on Judgment Day, see resurrection of the dead."

Miraculous resurrection of one sort or another has been a recurrent theme or central doctrine of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Religious accounts represent the resurrection of individuals, as well as a general resurrection of humanity on Judgment Day. Christianity also uses the term to refer to God's resurrection of Jesus. Accounts of resurrection also occur in other religious traditions. With the advent of written records, the earliest known recurrent theme of resurrection was in the ancient Egyptian religion and it was especially focused upon an individual in the cults of Neith, Isis, and Osiris.

Mesopotamia and the classical world

In the literal sense of the word, resurrection refers to the event of a dead person completely returning to life. Thus it is not to be confused with things like Hellenistic immortality in which the soul continues to live after death, "free" of the body.

"Centuries before the time of Jesus Christ the nations annually celebrated the death and resurrection of Osiris, Tammuz, Attis, Mithra, and other gods" [] . A cyclic dying-and-rising god motif was prevalent throughout ancient Mesopotamian and classical literature and practice (eg in Syrian and Greek worship of Adonis; Egyptian worship of Osiris; the Babylonian story of Tammuz; rural religious belief in the Corn King).

Specifically, some of language concerning resurrection in the Hebrew Bible appears to have origins in Canaanite belief as demonstrated by the Baal cycle found at Ugarit in Northern Syria. Ba'al-Hadad's battle against Mot seems to be the origin of the some of the resurrection imagery found in Hosea, Isaiah and Daniel. This influence survives into the New Testament and even Rabbinic literature, with agricultural imagery regarding resurrection in

Bodily resurrection versus Platonic philosophy

In Hellenistic 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."

Contemporary Biblical criticism

According to Herbert C. Brichto, writing in Reform Judaism's Hebrew Union College Annual, the family tomb is the central concept in understanding biblical views of the afterlife. Brichtothe states that it is "not mere sentimental respect for the physical remains that is...the motivation for the practice, but rather an assumed connection between proper sepulture and the condition of happiness of the deceased in the afterlife" According to Brichtothe, the early Israelites apparently believed that the graves of family, or tribe, united into one, and that this unified collectivity is to what the Biblical Hebrew term Sheol refers. Although not well defined in the Tanakh, Sheol in this view was a subterranean underworld where the souls of the dead went after the body died. The Babylonians had a similar underworld called Aralu, and the Greeks had one known as Hades. For biblical references to Sheol see Genesis 42:38, Isaiah 14:11, Psalm 141:7, Daniel 12:2, Proverbs 7:27 and Job 10:21,22, and 17:16, among others. According to Brichtothe, other Biblical names for Sheol were: Abbadon (ruin), found in Psalm 88:11, Job 28:22 and Proverbs 15:11; Bor (the pit), found in Isaiah 14:15, 24:22, Ezekiel 26:20; and Shakhat (corruption), found in Isaiah 38:17, Ezekiel 28:8. [Herbert Chanon Brichto "Kin, Cult, Land and Afterlife - A Biblical Complex", Hebrew Union College Annual 44, p.8 (1973)]


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (commonly called Mormons) teaches that upon death, righteous souls go to Paradise, while the souls of the unrepentant go to a spirit prison, where the former are sent from Paradise to preach the Gospel to the latter, and the living perform work in LDS Temples providing ordinances that can only be received in the flesh, which the repentant imprisoned ones can accept. The Book of Mormon describes both of these as temporary states, preceding resurrection and final judgement.cite book
authorlink = Book of Mormon
title = Book of Mormon
url =
isbn =
oclc =
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chapter = Alma 40:11-14
chapterurl =
quote = Now, concerning the state of the soul between death and the resurrection-Behold it has been made known unto me by an angel, that the spirits of all men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body, yea, the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life. And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow. And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of the wicked, yea who are evil...shall be cast out into outer darkness; there shall be weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth, and this because of their own iniquity, being led captive by the will of the devil...thus they remain in this state, as well as the righteous in paradise, until the time of their resurrection.
ref =
] When the time of the literal resurrection arrives, the spirits of everyone who has ever lived are reunited with their physical bodies. The degree of righteousness or unrighteousness in which a person had lived his or her life determines what level of glory they will attain after the final judgement.cite book
authorlink = Book of Mormon
title = Book of Mormon
url =
isbn =
oclc =
doi =
id =
pages =
chapter = Alma 11:42-44
chapterurl =
quote = Now, there is a death which is a called a temporal death; and the death of Christ shall loose the bands of this temporal death, that all shall be raised from this temporal death. The spirit and the body shall be reunited again in its perfect form; both limb and joint shall be restored to its proper frame, and we shall be brought to stand before God, knowing even as we know now, and have a bright recollection of all our guilt. Now, this restoration shall come to all, both old and young, both bond and free, both male and female, both the wicked and the righteous; and even there shall not so much as a hair of their heads be lost; but every thing shall be restored to it s perfect frame, as it is now, or in the body...
ref =
] The teaching (see I Corinthians 15, Doctrine & Covenenants 76) further is that there are different resurrection states, the righteous resurrecting first with a higher, and the wicked at the end of the Millennium with a lesser state.


Those who believe in Allah (God) and did good deeds in their lives will go to heaven and live there for eternity. Those who did not believe in God and did bad deeds in their lives will burn in hell for ever. Humans and other creatures of God are then made to account for all their deeds, and their final abode — Jannah or Jahannam — is determined by God's Grace and justice during the Day of Judgement.

One of the reasons Mohammad was sent was to explain the Doctrine of 'resurrection' and the terms 'heaven' and 'hell' from within the context of Revelations received from Allah.

Zen Buddhism

There are stories in Buddhism where the power of resurrection has been demonstrated on at least two famous occasions in Chan or Zen Buddhist tradition. One is the famous resurrection story of Bodhidharma, the Indian master who brought the Ekayana school of India to China that subsequently became Chan Buddhism.

The other is the passing of Chinese Chan master Puhua (J., Fuke) and is recounted in the Record of Linji (J., Rinzai). Puhua was known for his unusual or crazy-like 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".

65. 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. [Schloegl, Irmgard; tr. "The Zen Teaching of Rinzai". Shambhala Publications, Inc., Berkeley, 1976. Page 76. ISBN 0-87773-087-3.]

Bodily Disappearances

As the knowledge of different religions has grown, the bodily disappearance of Divine Heroes has been found to be common. In ancient times pagan similarities were explained by the early Christian writers, such as Justin Martyr, as the work of demons and Satan, with the intention of leading Christians astray. [ Justin Martyr, "Dialogue with Trypho" (ca 147-161 A.D.) Catholic University Press, 2003 ] In somewhat recent years we have learned Gesar, the Savior of Tibet, at the end, chants on a mountain top and his clothes fall empty to the ground. [Alexandra David-Neel,and Lama Yongden, "The Superhuman Life of Gesar of Ling", Rider, 1933, While still in oral tradition, the Divine Hero of Tibet and Asia is recorded for the first time by an early European traveler. ] The body of the first Guru of Sikhs 'Guru Nanak Dev Ji' is said to have disappeared and flowers were left in place of his dead body. There is a traditional spot in Jerusalem whence, while mounted, Muhammad and his horse both ascend into the sky.

Lord Raglan's Hero Pattern lists many Divine Heroes whose bodies disappear, or have more than one sepulchre. [ Otto Rank, Lord Raglan, and Alan Dundes, "In Quest of the Hero," Princeton University Press, 1990 ] B. Traven, author of "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre", wrote that the Inca Divine Hero, Virococha, walked away on the top of the sea and vanished. [ B. Traven, "The Creation of the Sun and Moon," Lawerence Hill Books, 1977 ] It has been thought that teachings regarding the purity and incorruptibility of the Divine Hero's human body are linked to this phenomenon. Perhaps, this is also to deter the practice of disturbing and collecting the hero's remains. They are safely protected if they have disappeared. In Deuteronomy (34:6)Moses is secretly buried. Elijah vanishes in a whirlwind 2 Kings (2:11).

After hundreds of years these two earlier Biblical heroes suddenly reappear, and are seen walking with Jesus. Then again they vanish. Mark (9:2-8), Matthew (17:1-8) and Luke (9:28-33). Only The Gospel of Luke (24:51) tells of Jesus leaving his disciples for the last time by ascending into the sky and leaving the Earth.


Further reading

*William F. Albright, "From Stone Age to Christianity: Monotheism and Historical Process"
*Oscar Cullmann, “Immortality of the Soul or Resurrection of the Dead?” in "Immortality and Resurrection" Ed. Krister Stendahl. New York: 1965. pp. 9-35. (" [ available online] ")

*Nikolai Fyodorovich Fyodorov. "Philosophy of Physical Resurrection" 1906.
*Edwin Hatch, "Influence of Greek Ideas and Usages Upon the Christian Church" (1888 Hibbert Lectures).
*Ronald F. Hock, "The Favored One: How Mary Became the Mother of God," "Bible Review", p. 12-25, June 2001.
*Richard Longenecker, Editor. "Life in the Face of Death: The Resurrection Message of the New Testament". Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998.
*Frank Morison. "Who Moved the Stone?". London: Faber and Faber, 1930. (" [ available online] ")
*George Nickelsburg, "Resurrection, Immortality, and Eternal Life in Intertestmental Judaism". Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1972.
*Zoe Oldenburg. "Massacre at Montsegur". A History of the Albigensian Crusade. Translated from the French by Peter Green (1959).
*James Robinson, Editor. "The Nag Hammadi Library in English". New York: Harper Collins, 1977.
*Jean-Marc Rouvière, "Le silence de Lazare", Desclée De Brouwer: Paris, 1996.
* Charles H. Talbert, "The Concept of Immortals in Mediterranian Antiquity", Journal of Biblical Literature, Volume 94, 1973, pp 419-436
*Charles H. Talbert, "The Myth of a Descending-Ascending Redeemer in Mediterranian Antiquity", New Testament Studies, 22, 1975/76, pp 418-440
*N.T. Wright. "The Resurrection of the Son of God". Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2003.
* [ Father Alfred J Hebert] "Raised from the Dead: True Stories of 400 Resurrection Miracles"

External links

* [ Properties and Endowment of Resurrected Bodies according to the Bible]
* [ Resurrection of Jesus Christ] - Catholic Encyclopedia
* [ Why I Don't Buy the Resurrection Story] - Columbia University Historian Richard Carrier (analyzes evidence for the resurrection of Jesus)
* [ Perspectives on the Resurrection] - ABC News 20/20 Special (focuses on resurrection of Jesus)
* [ Jewish Encyclopedia: Resurrection]
*the Christian apostle Paul on the Christian belief in the resurrection of the dead (the Church) in I Corinthians 15 []
* [ The enticement of the Occult: Occultism examined by an scientist and Orthodox Priest]
* [ Rethinking the resurrection.(of Jesus Christ)(Cover Story) Newsweek, April 8th 1996, Woodward, Kenneth L.]
* [ "Dictionary of the History of Ideas":] Death and Immortality, Resurrection, Reincarnation

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