As for the thinkers, the Teacher went on, outside our own system of thought, they have, with all their diverse ways of looking at things, one in one point, another in another, approached and touched the doctrine of the Resurrection: while they none of them exactly coincide with us, they have in no case wholly abandoned such an expectation. Some indeed make human nature vile in their comprehensiveness, maintaining that a soul becomes alternately that of a man and of something irrational; that it transmigrates into various bodies, changing at pleasure from the man into fowl, fish, or beast, and then returning to human kind. While some extend this absurdity even to trees and shrubs, so that they consider their wooden life as corresponding and akin to humanity, others of them hold only thus much — that the soul exchanges one man for another man, so that the life of humanity is continued always by means of the same souls, which, being exactly the same in number, are being born perpetually first in one generation, then in another. As for ourselves, we take our stand upon the tenets of the Church, and assert that it will be well to accept only so much of these speculations as is sufficient to show that those who indulge in them are to a certain extent in accord with the doctrine of the Resurrection.
Thursday, July 19, 2018
Today is the feast of St. Macrina the Younger, also known as the Teacher, grand-daughter of St. Macrina the Elder, daughter of St. Basil the Elder and St. Emmelia, and sister of St. Basil the Great, St. Naucratius, St. Peter of Sebaste, and St. Gregory of Nyssa. An interesting passage from St. Gregory's On the Soul and the Resurrection, an account of his dialogue with his older sister when she was on her deathbed: