Re: Man born blind
I am unaware of any belief in reincarnation or transmigration of
souls among first-century Jews. In fact, the supposition of such a
belief seems to weaken the force of this passage. The strength of the
dilemma posed in the question asked by the disciples lies in the fact
that both alternatives proposed defy customary notions of divine
"Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?"
Implies two possibilities:
a. That God would punish a child (an unborn child, at that) for the
sins of his parents, or
b. That God would punish a person for sins before that person had
Supposition of a theory of transmigration of souls relieves the
dilemma prematurely, and in a way not suggested in Jesus' answer, or
elsewhere in the text, since such a belief would be *not* be in conflict
with conventional views of divine justice. If reincarnation is assumed,
then God is punishing the blind man for sins he had committed already (in
a previous life).
I would conclude that this passage does not presuppose a belief
in a prior existence of the person (previous incarnation or pre-existence
of the soul).