Gilgul: Jewish Rebirth Theory

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‘What we find in the New Testament as a self-evident belief in rebirth was by no means familiar to the Jews of earlier times. Hellenistic philosophy had disseminated that view within its sphere of influence. The concept of rebirth (gilgul) only became established in Jewish circles around the start of our millennium.  Talmudists started from the assumption that God had created only a specific number of Jewish souls, which were constantly reborn.  For punishment they returned in animals’ bodies.  According to that view, a human has to live through a prolonged transmigration of souls (gilgul-neschama) until redemption (tikkan – ‘right order, harmony’) is attained.  The idea that redemption only occurs when the goal of earthly development is achieved indicates Indian and Buddhist origins.  These Jewish teachings first arose during the Hellenistic period.’

Gruber, Elmar R & Kersten, Holger, The Original Jesus – The Buddhist Sources of Christianity, Element, (1995) Page 89

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