No, You Can’t!
Re: Roi Tamkin’s essay, “When I Die, Can I Come Back?”
While the answer is “no,” I was somewhat amused by Mr. Tamkin’s exploration of various religions (e.g., Buddhism, Wicca, Judaism, Christianity) with brief discussion of their respective philosophies concerning reincarnation. However, Mr. Tamkin’s assessment of the Judeo-Christian attitude towards reincarnation is incorrect. While he is generally correct about Emperor Justinian I having a role in the development of what is now the Orthodox Catholic church, the focus of the Second Council of Constantinople was reconciliation of the heretical Monophysites, who denied the humanity of Jesus Christ (vs. the heretical Nestorites who taught that Jesus was two distinct persons – one human, one divine); there is apparently no evidence that reincarnation was an issue at the time.
Had reincarnation been a solid belief in the Jewish religion (the Yonassen Gershon quote is ludicrous) it would have remained preserved in the Books of Moses (which survive to this day in the Old Testament and Torah – Mat. 24:35). Regardless of what Justinian I or anyone else did concerning the Orthodox Canon as Justinian’s “Jesuits” (assuming their function in rounding up and burning Bibles as described in the essay) most likely did not reach out fully into the post-diaspora Jewish communities; i.e., Ethiopia, Spain, etc. Additionally, it is not likely that the Roman Pope at the time (Vigilius) would have supported such an order from Constantinople.
Mr. Tamkin mentions “three chapters” of the Bible discussing reincarnation being removed by Justinian I, yet he does not indicate the former location of these three chapters, nor what they actually said (one begs to reply “they were removed, so we don’t know where they were!”). Assuming Justinian I was a “good Christian,” he would have been hard-pressed to remove anything from the Bible (Rev. 22:18-19, etc.). Nevertheless, I am sure that copies of the chapters in question would have survived somehow and made their way into a book by Elaine Pagels. Speaking of which, her champion of Gnostic Christianity, Origen, the source of much Biblical confusion, the most likely source for a Christian recognition of reincarnation, and perhaps the source of the Alexandrian Septuagint (the “inspiration” behind the Latin Vulgate, Wescot and Hort’s “revisions” and ultimately the New International Version Bible), with his mingling of Greek philosophy with Christianity, did not support reincarnation. The most likely source of the myth of “Judeo-Christian acceptance of reincarnation” is Edgar Cayce or some other charlatan. 1 Cor. 15: 33.
Reincarnation is soundly rejected in both the New and Old Testaments: Heb. 9:27 and Gen. 3:19, respectfully. Thus, for Mr. Tamkin’s sake I would recommend he seek out a Rabbi who actually knows his Torah and ultimately seek out the English version of the Received Text.