Apocryphote of the Day: 7-15-08

"The resurrection of the souls of the dead takes place even now in the time of death. But the resurrection of the bodies will take place in that (last) day."

Macarius, Homily 36.1 (Syrian father from fourth century)

Commentary: this quotation represents the problem that one faces when the Jewish concept of bodily resurrection (that is, the resurrection of the whole person) encounters the dualistic Platonic anthropology (that is, the soul and body). Pagans believed in the immortality of the soul, that it could be released to return to its divine origins at death if the person had been pious. So what benefit was Jesus' death, the pagans asked? Part of that answer appears to be that Jesus' body was restored, and so will yours if you become Christian. Eventually the type of view develops that Macarius suggests: that at personal death, the soul journeys onward, and at the last day the body will follow.

The illustration depicts Ezekiel 37, 3rd-century fresco, Dura Europas synagogue in Syria.