Re: references to reincarnation

From: Nichael Cramer (
Date: Thu Apr 02 1998 - 07:02:57 EST

Aldo Randmaa wrote:
> Hello, b-greekers!
> Could anyone (possibly off-list) briefly comment on the claim that in AD
> 325 references to reincarnation were removed from the New Testament by
> Constantine and his mother Helena, and that the decision was confirmed by
> the Second Council of Constantinople in AD 553. I read it from a Finnish
> healthy life-style magazine, and I would consider it wrong, but I'd like
> to have someone authoritative say a word.
> Aldo Randmaa
> Tallinn, Estonia

Well, I make no claim to be "authoritative"; however I will point out that
there would appear to be no evidence at all to support such a claim that
the NT ever contained such passages, let alone that they were removed by
Constantine or anyone else.

In particular, while the earliest "complete" copies of the Greek NT that
we possess date from about the time you mention above, we have lots of
evidence of what the NT looked like before that time; both direct textual
evidence --i.e. earlier manuscripts-- as well as indirect evidence such as
quotations in the early church fathers. None of this evidence gives
_any_ indication that such "references to reincarnation" ever existed in
the NT, even before the time of Constantine.

Furthermore, even if Constantine had been able to impose such a program,
we would still expect to find some evidence for the "suppressed" passages
in traditions outside his control; both those in Greek, and perhaps more
particularly in other early verional traditions --e.g. the old Latin and
early Syriac.

So in sum, there is no evidence at all to support such a thesis; or, more
directly, all the evidence that we do have directly contradicts such a
thesis. Or, more succinctly, no, this sounds like complete nonsense to


Nichael Cramer

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