On The Fate of the Dead

Richard Bauckham, in The Fate of the Dead: Studies on the Jewish and Christian Apocalypses (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 1998), says (p. 275): “…earliest Jewish notion of resurrection was that the dead would return from the place of the dead to life on earth. It presupposed the existence of the dead as shades in

Sheol and imagined those shades returning from Sheol to real life. Because ancient Israelite thought made no sharp distinctions between Sheol and the grave or between the dead person in Sheol and the body in the grave, such distinctions did not belong to the original notion of resurrection…Since death was not conceived as the separation of the person from their body, but as the death of the bodily person, so resurrection was not the reunion of person and body, but the resurrection of the bodily person. The notion is not the resurrection of the body so much as the bodily resurrection of the dead.”

In Regards to the Apocalyptic Jewish Literature he goes on to say (p. 276-77) “…older ways of thinking and speaking of resurrection, simply as the return of the dead from Sheol, persisted alongside newer, dualistic ideas of a reunion of soul and body…Older and newer ways of speaking of resurrection were not necessarily perceived as contradictory and may both be used by the same writer.”

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