from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

As resurrection (Greek ἀνάστασις, ἀναστάναι infinitive;. Lat. Resurrectio ) is the establishment of Deceased to eternal life to or from the death referred. Various religions hope for and teach a resurrection , especially the three monotheistic world religions Judaism , Christianity and Islam . They follow the religious idea of ​​a revival of all dead to a final judgment of a god over evil and good ( Persian Empire ), but differ from ideas of a separation of the immortal soul from the dead body ( Hellenism ) and a reincarnation (rebirth, migration) of the soul into one another mortal body ( Hinduism , Egyptian mythology ).

The raising of the dead can, depending on the context, either denote a temporary resuscitation or a resurrection to eternal life. The term is based on the metaphorical description of death as "(eternal) sleep " or the unconsciousness of a seemingly dead person .

Ancient Judaism developed its special belief in the resurrection from the idea of ​​the righteousness of the Creator and Covenant God of the Israelites in two variants: raising only the Israelites who are just in earthly life to eternal life with God or raising all people to the final judgment of God, the righteous with eternal life reward, exclude and punish unjust. Both variants are connected with the expectation of a comprehensive transformation of the created world in the kingdom of God , which will overcome death at all. Judaism does not separate the otherworldly fate of individuals from the salvation of the people of God, humanity and the whole world.

The early Christianity moved into the world related Jewish resurrection hope in Jesus Christ : the God of Israel had already anticipated the final judgment in order to make peace with the world and him as to his Son of God and Messiah to reveal. That is why the hope of the resurrection of the dead for Christians coincides with the expectation of the return of Jesus Christ as the judge of all living and dead.

The Koran , the holy scripture of Islam , contains numerous descriptions of the resurrection, mostly in connection with warnings of the approaching Judgment Day and the divine retribution associated with it .


The Zoroastrianism , one on Zarathustra (.. V d 630-553 BC) returned Persian religion, teaches first - similar to ancient Egyptian religion - a journey of souls of the dead to the Cinvat Bridge . Judgment of good and bad is held here. For the righteous in earthly life the bridge is wide as a path, for others it is narrow as a knife point. The good came to the blissful realms of the paradise Garodemäna (later Garotman ), the “place of praise” (cf. heaven ); but the soul of the wicked gets to the “worst place” (cf. hell ).

3,000 years after the birth of Zarathustra, who taught people the way to salvation, the Saoshjant ( Savior ) would appear. He would destroy the evil spirits and bring about a new, immortal world; the dead will also rise from the dead.

At about the same time as exiled Judaism, the ideas of the final judgment, redemption, resurrection, and the annihilation of powers hostile to God were connected with one another. They may have influenced the similar doctrines of the three monotheistic religions. It remains unclear whether the annihilation of the evil spirits also includes the salvation of the damned and a new creation of the previous, death-subject world.

Ancient Greece

The Greek expressions for "resurrect" or "raise" were never used in Greek literature until the epoch of Hellenism for the survival of the soul after death or a transmigration of souls, but always for the resuscitation of the seemingly dead . They appear very rarely, mostly in novels , for the resuscitation of the deceased; often their death turns out to be an error and an appearance. In his work Politeia , Plato wrote of a soldier who appeared to have died in the war, but came back to life when his body was about to be cremated. Accordingly, ancient Greek mystery cults , including the Mysteries of Eleusis , celebrated a rebirth of life after death as a cyclical return of the forces and rhythms of nature, not as the ultimate liberation of creation from death.

The Cynicism , starting from the Greek philosopher Diogenes (3rd century BC), was of such a mystery cult and the idea of conjoining a world soul ( Stoa ) with elements of Greek mythology as the demigod Hercules . The concept of the resurrection has no evidence in this context.



The belief in a resurrection of some or all of the dead is only rarely attested in the Tanakh and in relatively late writings. Much more common and older was the idea of ​​the prehistoric and fathers' stories in Genesis , according to which people who obeyed God's commandments were rewarded with a long earthly life and were buried as dead with their ancestors ( Gen 25.8  EU ):

" Abraham ... died a good old age, when he was old and full of life, and was gathered with his fathers."

From the prophets Elijah ( 1 Kings 17 : 17–24  EU ) and Elisha ( 2 Kings 4 : 17–37  EU ), the Bible reports the temporary resuscitation of some who have already died as a sign of their endowment with God's Spirit .

The idea of ​​a resurrection of the Israelites is indicated for the first time in prophecy of the 8th century. So it says in Hos 6.1-3  EU :

“Come, we will return to the Lord! For he has torn (wounds), he will also heal us; he wounded, he will bandage too. After two days he gives us life back, on the third day he lifts us up again and we live before his face. Let us seek knowledge, the knowledge of the Lord. It comes as sure as the dawn; it comes to us like the rain, like the spring rain that soaks the earth. "

The future action of God is represented here as a healing of the sick and as a certainty like the change of the day and season. The new restores the previous life of those hit by God's judgment in such a way that they henceforth do God's will. This means an inner-historical turn for the better and was only realized after the fall of the northern kingdom of Israel in 722 BC. Related to a new life of the righteous after death.

Since the Israelite faith regarded the body and soul of man as an inseparable, mortal unit ( Gen 2, 7, 19 EU ), biblical images of the resurrection also embrace  the whole person . In his vision of the dead bones, the prophet Ezekiel , who was active in exile in Babylon (586-539 BC) , learned God's power over death as the restoration of all decayed Israelites to a new physical life, which includes the emptying of the graves ( Ez 37, 1–14  EU ). Similarly, says the resulting after the exile called Isaiah - Apocalypse in Isaiah 26:19  EU :

"His dead will be raised and their corpses will be raised."

Again, it is about Israel, not humanity. The passage uses the verbs “auferstehen” and “auferwecken” in parallel and, in the passivum divinum, implicitly indicates the originator of the new life. In Isa 25,8  EU it was previously said of YHWH :

“He will devour death forever. And YHWH will wipe the tears from all faces and will remove the shame of his people in all lands; because the Lord said it. "

In the Tanakh, resurrection or resurrection means first of all an exclusive saving act of God for his chosen people, which at the same time opens a perspective for all people. You are here promised overcoming death as a necessary part of salvation for Israel. Inner Temporal and beyond redemption go hand in hand.

Only in the book of Daniel (from 170 BC) was this promise extended to the expectation of a universal raising of the dead for God's final judgment ( Dan 12 : 2–3  EU ):

"And many who are sleeping in the ground will wake up, some to eternal life , others to eternal shame and shame."

The Jewish apocalyptic connected this idea with the turn of the eons , i.e. a God-induced break in world history which would completely transform creation. The fate of the individual was included in this collective expectation. Theological starting point is God's unbreakable self-commitment expressed in the 1st commandment ( Ex 20.2  EU ) to the final liberation of Israel, which aims at the rescue of all peoples from inhuman tyranny ( Dan 7.13-14  EU ). The faithful Jews held on to this hope even in a hopeless threat to their existence.

Deuterocanonical writings

The after Makkabäerkriegen resulting 2 Maccabees (100-50 v. Chr.) Teaches in some chapters, the resurrection of the righteous, for their loyalty to Yahweh's Torah killed martyrs among the Jews. Chapter 7, which is considered a legendary insert, describes the torture death of seven brothers and their mother ordered by the foreign ruler Antiochus IV . They stand for all Jews who, in the face of certain cruel death, refused to turn away from their faith and who adhered to YHWH's commandments. They are cited as witnesses to God's power over this unjust death, to encourage later generations to be faithful and martyrdom and to announce God's judgment to foreign rulers:

“We'd rather die than break the laws of our fathers. [...]
You monster! You take this life from us; but the King of the world will raise us to new, everlasting life because we died for his laws. [...]
God has given us hope that he will resurrect us. This is what we like to wait for when we die of human hands. But for you there is no resurrection to life. [...]
You are a transitory person and yet you have the power to do what you want among people. But do not think that our people are forsaken by God. Just go on like this! You will feel his tremendous power when he chastises you and your offspring. [...]
You will not achieve anything. Because we are to blame for our suffering because we have sinned against our God. That is why so incredible could happen. But don't think that you will get away safely; because you dared to fight with God. "

Finally, the mother relates the doctrine of the resurrection to God's creative power in summary :

“... the creator of the world shaped the human being when he came into being; he knows the origin of all things. He graciously gives you your breath and life again, because you are now disregarding yourselves for the sake of his laws. [...]
Look at heaven and earth; see everything that is there and realize: God created it out of nothing and that is how people come into being. Do not be afraid of this executioner, be worthy of your brothers and accept death! Then I will get you back with your brothers at the time of grace. "

However, belief in the resurrection of the righteous remained controversial in Judaism at the time. In many cases, the defeats and deaths of Jewish freedom fighters were attributed to previous violations of the law, which called their future justification by God into question. On the other hand, the leader of a successful liberation battle prayed and sacrificed for the resurrection of the Jews who had fallen for idolatry, as an episode in the 2nd Book of Maccabees, Chapter 12 shows:

“[...] But noble Judas exhorted the people to keep themselves clean from sins; they had seen with their own eyes the consequences of the crime of the fallen. He organized a gathering for all to participate and sent about two thousand silver drachms to Jerusalem to be offered a sin offering. With that he acted very nicely and nobly; for he thought of the resurrection. If he had not expected the fallen to rise, it would have been superfluous and pointless to pray for the dead. He also kept in mind the splendid reward that is deposited for those who die in piety. "

In the Dead Sea Scrolls , the resurrection is only indicated in fragment 4Q521 as a statement about God:

"He heals the pierced, revives the dead, proclaims justice to the poor ..."

This continued the prophetic tradition, according to which God would save and rehabilitate those who were neglected in this life, the poor and the unjustly killed.

In the Ethiopian Book of Enoch the resurrection hope can already be found in early passages (around 50 BC), which are not yet clearly differentiated from the idea of ​​an immortal soul (including 20.8; 22; 90.33.38; 91.10; 92 , 3). The future transformation of the dead and decomposed bodies to a new life on this earth is only expected in the pictorial discourses added around AD 70-100 (chapters 37-71). "In those days the earth will give back those gathered in it, and Sheol will also give back what he has received and hell will give up what it owes" (Enoch 51: 1). Previously (46.6; 48.9-10) this promise was limited to the righteous, sinners were excluded from it.

The 4th book of Ezra (7.32) and the Syrian Baruch Apocalypse (21.23f; 42.7; 50.2) allude to these passages . However, resurrection is thought of as the reunion of an immortal soul with a new mortal body in a transformed earth. Even more recent Jewish writings such as the Pseudo-Philo attempted to balance the two complexes of ideas in different ways.

Rabbinic theology

As the Sadducee question ( Mk 12: 18-27  EU ) shows, the physical resurrection was a controversial subject in 1st century Palestinian Judaism. The Sadducees rejected this belief because it does not appear directly anywhere in the Torah , which was the only document of revelation for them . The Pharisees, on the other hand, believed, following later Jewish writings, mainly in the resurrection of the righteous (2nd Book of Maccabees), some also in a resurrection of all dead for the final judgment (Book of Daniel).

Grave inscriptions from that time do not clearly show belief in the resurrection. A statement that the buried person (Greek psyche ) is alive B. openly whether a new body or a spiritual continuation was meant. Accordingly, ideas about life after death in Jewish theology were between 100 BC. up to 100 AD neither uniform nor priority over other religious topics.

After the destruction of the Jerusalem temple in 70 AD, the Pharisees or rabbis (Torah teachers) gained the leading role in Judaism. They gave the community prayer in the synagogue service priority over the no longer practicable temple sacrifice cult. The prayer of eighteen sums up the consensus of faith on the resurrection at that time in the 2nd Benediction:

“You are mighty forever, Lord, revive the dead, you are strong to help. You feed the living with grace, invigorate the dead with great mercy, support the falling, heal the sick, set the bound free and remain faithful to those who sleep in the dust. Who is like you, Lord of Almighty, and who is like you, King, who you kill and revive and make salvation sprout. And you are faithful to revive the dead. Praise be to you, Eternal One, who resuscitate the dead! "

The resurrection is derived here from the saving omnipotence, grace and faithfulness of God to all life.

A treatise of the Mishnah then declared it to be a dogma and excluded those who do not believe in it from salvation (San X, 1b):

"The following have no part in the world to come: Whoever says there is no resurrection of the dead from the Torah ..."

It remained controversial whether the Torah already taught the resurrection and what kind of new life for the dead would be. Most rabbis limited the resurrection to eternal life to Jews recognized by God as righteous; some taught that only Jews buried in Israel would be resurrected. From the 4th century it became customary to bury the Diaspora dead with some soil from Israel; underground connections would allow their return to the resurrection in Israel. In the Talmud , overly material conditions of salvation and descriptions of future life are rejected (bBer 6 17a):

"In the world to come there is no food and drink, no procreation and no multiplication ... Rather, the righteous sit there with their crowns on their heads and enjoy the splendor of God's glory."

For this purpose, Bible passages like Isa 64,3  EU were related to the coming world (bBer 34b):

"No eye has seen it [God's kingdom] but God alone."

middle Ages

It was only Jewish theologians of the Middle Ages who tried to balance the contradicting rabbinical doctrines on the resurrection. Saadja Gaon wrote a separate chapter in his work Ha-Emunot we-ha-Deot , which came into circulation as a separate extract attributed to Rabbi Eliezer. He taught a temporary physical resuscitation of the righteous in the messianic end times, to which he assigned traditional material statements, and a completely unimaginable resurrection of all dead after God's final judgment.

Maimonides made the resurrection the last of his 13 Articles of Faith. In other places, however, he seemed to be teaching the immortal soul. Attacked because of this, he explained his belief in Ma'amar Techiat Ha-Metim (1191): The bodily resurrection applies in the messianic time and ends with the death of all those who are raised; in the world to come, a purely spiritual state follows as immortal soul life.

His main opponents in this dispute were Meir ha-Levi Abulafia (around 1165-1244) and Mose ben Nachman (1194-1270). The latter declared in Torat ha-Adam that one can also believe in God's rewarding and punishing justice according to the Torah if one rejects the physical resurrection.

Modern times

In modern times, three doctrines have emerged, each of which is linked to different statements of the Tanach:

  • One assumes that all people die body and soul, but are physically resurrected in the messianic time ( Sanhedrin 10.1 with reference to Dan 12.2  EU ).
  • The other assumes that the pure immortal soul, unsullied by birth , life, and death, returns to God pure again. It assumes that this free soul continues to live after death independently of the body (Shabbat 152b with reference to Prov 12.28  EU ).
  • The third assumes that the human soul lives on after the death of his body until the messianic time, finally unites with a newly created body and thus arises bodily.

In liberal Reform Judaism, the corporeal belief in the resurrection is rejected under philosophical influence in favor of belief in the immortal soul. Liberal rabbis declared after a conference in Pittsburgh in 1885:

"We reassert the doctrine of Judaism, that the soul of man is immortal, grounding this belief on the divine nature of the human spirit ... We reject as ideas not rooted in Judaism the beliefs both in the bodily resurrection and in Gehenna and Eden . "

As early as 1857, the meeting leader Isaac Mayer Wise (1819–1900) deleted allusions to the physical resurrection from his Jewish prayer books. It was followed by new editions in the USA, while European new editions of these prayer books transmit the traditional text, but interpret in the sense of the immortal soul. How this lives on after death and what it is, Judaism has never shown exactly.


Resurrection of Jesus Christ

The Greek verbs resurrect (εγείρω) and resurrection denote the same thing in the New Testament (NT): the act of God on dead persons, first and foremost on Jesus of Nazareth , and the temporary resuscitation of mortals by Jesus himself (see miracle of Jesus ).

God raised Jesus on the “third day” since his crucifixion under Pontius Pilate (about one and a half days after his death): This is the central creed of early Christianity ( 1 Cor 15 : 3ff.  EU ). This act of God celebrates Christianity on the annual Easter festival , the main Christian festival.

The belief in the resurrection of all dead, adopted from Judaism, carries with Paul the belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ and vice versa. The Gospels have linked two traditions to this:

  • the finding of the grave "on the first day of the week" by the women who had observed Jesus' death and burial,
  • some appearances of the resurrected Jesus in bodily form in front of people, especially in front of some of his very first disciples, who saw themselves thereby called to the mission of the nations.

How these texts were created, how they relate to one another and how the Easter events took place historically is the subject of an intensive exegetical, scientific, internal and external debate.

In 1 Cor 15.22-24  EU and 2 Cor 5.10  EU , Paul, in agreement with some of the Pharisees of the time, teaches the coming physical resurrection of all dead for the final judgment as the final transformation of the whole world. This knowledge began with the resurrection of Jesus Christ and was guaranteed by him. He thus places the resurrection of the incarnate Son of God against the background of eternal life in the context of prophetic and apocalyptic salvation expectations of Judaism.


The temporary resuscitation of the deceased by Jesus ( Mt 9,18–26  EU ; Lk 7,11–17  EU ; Joh 11,1–45  EU ) or some of his apostles ( Acts 9,36–42  EU ; Acts 20,9– 11  EU ) are intended to illustrate the healing powers of the perpetrators. They do not express a general belief in the resurrection or a general ability of chosen Christians to resurrect the dead.

Reports by Christians of individual temporary resuscitation, such as a friend of John Knox , a suicide by Johann Christoph Blumhardt in 1887 or the accidental death of Daniel Ekechukwu in 2001, are rare and cannot be verified; Similar reports can be found in other religions.

to teach

Ecclesiastical doctrines of the resurrection differentiate between immortal souls and mortal bodies in people in general who are to be reunited by their resurrection, as well as the resurrection of Jesus Christ as God's sole act of will from the subsequent resurrection of all mortals through the coming action of Jesus Christ.

The exact course of the resurrection is denominationally controversial: especially the question of whether the general resurrection from the dead on Judgment Day will coincide with the resurrection of the (born again or baptized) Christians or whether - as is assumed in many places - it will coincide with Jesus on the third day immediately after earthly death takes place ( 1 Thess 4,13ff.  EU ).

While in the past almost only the resurrection of humans was discussed, today questions are also asked about the survival or resurrection of animals. This notion is not documented in the known religious writings on the subject. Nevertheless, some Christian theologians, including Martin Luther , believe that animals will also be resurrected in the believed future transformation of the whole world. These considerations are inferred indirectly from other statements about animals, e.g. B. from Gen 1,27ff  EU : God created animals similar to humans from earth, they had a non-material soul like humans and would also receive a new physical life after death. In the Orthodox Church, the resurrection of animals is fundamentally affirmed as part of creation that is also redeemed through the redemption of man.



Today's natural sciences are methodically committed to an empiricism that deduces physical, chemical and biological laws from the observable and experimentally verifiable phenomena and tries to explain reality from them. They do not deal with "otherworldly" realities or singular events without scientifically verifiable causes (" miracles "). However, the near death experience is now also part of research and its research work is published in recognized scientific journals such as B. The Lancet published. The natural sciences also know the categories of contingency and chance , but do not derive any fundamental relativization of the scientific worldview from them.

Especially since Immanuel Kant's critical epistemology , beliefs have been strictly differentiated from statements of fact and relegated to the realm of what cannot be systematically proven by natural science.

Critical historiography also assumes a cause-and-effect continuum of history and does not reckon with completely analogy-free events without internal historical causes ( Ernst Troeltsch ), so that a resurrection cannot a priori be considered a historical event , but at most a mythological motive.

Rationalistic attempts to explain resurrection reports in ancient sources have existed since the Age of Enlightenment . They always boil down to the thesis of an apparent death . With regard to Jesus of Nazareth, they either assume that he survived the crucifixion or that there was a mix-up such that someone other than Jesus was crucified.

Religious critics who argue psychologically often see the resurrection belief as a human attempt to soften or even abolish the finality of death in a religious community. Ludwig Feuerbach criticized this as a projection , Karl Marx as opium (self-soothing and illusory intoxication), Sigmund Freud as repression and neurotic self-division or infantile wishful thinking, Bertrand Russell as irrational defense against fear .

In contrast to the individual sciences, a religious-philosophical classification of the resurrection considers the whole of reality and does not make any materialistic-empirical preliminary decisions. Accordingly, there is generally no blanket rejection of miracles and singular events.

See also


  • Sung-Hee Lee-Linke (Ed.): Resurrection or Reincarnation? The question of grace and karma in the Christian-Buddhist dialogue. Lembeck, Frankfurt / M. 2006, ISBN 3-87476-498-2 .
  • Godehard Brüntrup , Matthias Rugel, Maria Schwartz (eds.): Resurrection of the body. Immortality of the soul. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 2010, ISBN 3-17-020979-5 .
  • Dag Øistein Endsjø . Greek Resurrection Beliefs and the Success of Christianity. Palgrave Macmillan, New York 2009, ISBN 978-0-230-61729-2 .
  • Markus Knapp : Easter - the basis of the Christian faith. The resurrection of Jesus from a historical and theological perspective. In: Reinhard Göllner (ed.): Resurrection and eternal life. Between projection and belief (= theology in contact; vol. 10). LIT-Verlag, Münster 2002, ISBN 3-8258-6391-3 , pp. 53-78.
  • Thomas Marschler : Resurrection and Ascension of Christ in scholastic theology up to Thomas Aquinas (= contributions to the history of philosophy and theology of the Middle Ages / NF; Vol. 64,1–2). Aschendorff, Münster 2003, ISBN 3-402-04017-4 (2 vols .; plus dissertation, University of Bonn 2002).
  • Nicholas Thomas Wright : The Resurrection of the Son of God (= Christian origins and the question of god; Vol. 3). SPCK, London 2003, ISBN 0-281-05551-3 .
    • German: The resurrection of the Son of God. A historical perspective (= the origins of Christianity and the question of God; vol. 3). Verlag Francke, Marburg / Lahn 2014, ISBN 978-3-86827-444-8 .
  • Franz J. Hinkelammert : The realm of life and the realm of death. Life and death in the Christian message. In: Ders .: The ideological weapons of death. On the metaphysics of capitalism. Edition Exodus, Münster 1985, ISBN 3-905575-05-1 , p. 163 ff.
    • Spanish: Las armas ideológicas de la muerte. EDUCA, Rodrigo Facio 1977.
  • Hans-Ulrich Wiese: Resurrection into Life. Proclamation of faith for the sick and the dying. Herder, Freiburg / B. 2013, ISBN 978-3-451-31074-4 .
  • Harald Motzki (Ed.): Hadith. Origins and developnments (= Formation of the classical Islamic world; Vol. 28). Ashgate Books, Aldershot, Hampshire 2004, ISBN 0-86078-704-4 (almost all hadith books have a chapter on the resurrection).
  • Said Nursî : The great sign. Quran commentary. Envar-Verlag, Wetzlar 1988, ISBN 3-926872-01-2 (in it "Treatise on Resurrection" [10th word] and "About Paradise" [28th word]; from the Risale-i Nur complete works).
Ancient Orient and Africa
  • Dierk Lange: The dying and the rising God in the New Year Festival of Ife . In: Ders .: Ancient Kingdoms of West Africa . Röll Verlag, Dettelbach 2004, ISBN 3-89754-115-7 , pp. 343-376.
  • Tryggve Mettinger: The Riddle of Resurrection. "Dying and Rising Gods" in the Ancient Near East (= Coniectanea biblica. Old Testament Series; Vol. 50). Almqvist, Stockholm 2001, ISBN 91-22-01945-6 .

Web links

Wiktionary: Resurrection  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Plato: The State , Book 10 ( Memento from February 25, 2015 in the Internet Archive )
  2. The Second Book of the Maccabees, Chapter 7 (standard translation)
  3. 2. Maccabees 12: 32-45: The punished unfaithfulness of some Jews and the Atonement for the dead
  4. The 18 requests, quoted from the Sidur Sefar Emet (Jewish prayer book), Basel 1964, pp. 40ff
  5. Theologische Realenzyklopädie 4th edition, article Resurrection , Section I / 2 Judentum (Günter Sternberger), pp. 443–449
  6. Kurt E. Koch: In Paradise. The Association for Christian Evangelism, Quebeck, ISBN 0-88981-011-7 , p. 31.
  7. Friedrich Zündel: Pastor Johann Christoph Blumhardt - A picture of life. 5th edition, S. Höhr, Zurich 1887, pp. 219f.
  8. Alexander Seibel: The miracles of Reinhard Bonnke. Retrieved January 6, 2011.
  9. Kurt E. Koch: In Paradise. P. 77.
  10. Ulrich Seidel
  11. ^ Van Lommel P, van Wees R, Meyers V, Elfferich I. (2001) "Near-Death Experience in Survivors of Cardiac Arrest: A prospective Study in the Netherlands", The Lancet , 358 (9298): 2039-45, doi : 10.1016 / S0140-6736 (01) 07100-8 .