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This article is about the religious meaning of the word "Resurrection". For other meanings see Resurrection (disambiguation).
Different stories of resurrection occur. Some resurrections are of the physical body, brought back to life, indistinguishable to the life it had prior to its death. Some resurrections are symbolic, not of a physical body, but of a ghost body seen after the death of a person's body.
While the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is one of the foundational beliefs of Christianity, accounts of other resurrections also figure in religion, myth, and fable.
Examples are Mithraism; Greek worship of Adonis; Egyptian worship of Osiris; the Babylonian story of Tammuz; and rural religious belief in the Corn King. Some historians conjecture that the New Testament's accounts of the resurrection of Jesus were in some ways influenced by, or directly based on, these earlier resurrection stories. See Osiris-Dionysus. Some early Christians, such as Justin Martyr, believed that some of these pagan beliefs were influenced by the prophecies of Moses and other Israelites. Many Christians hold that the stories are significantly different, and that the similarities are superficial; thus, no special significance need be attached to the similarities. Some discussion of these views are expressed in the relevant articles.
On a similar note, many stories in the Torah, held sacred by both Jews and Christians, also are noted by historians to have close parallels to earlier pagan myths and stories. Liberal Jewish and Christian denominations agree that this is likely the case, and have theologies that do not depend on this finding. Traditional Christians and Orthodox Jews typically explain these similarities by appeal to their belief that all of the world's religions are corrupted versions of the true tradition that has been preserved more purely through a people chosen for this purpose, the Jews. And, Jewish history itself is held to be the workmanship of God for the correction of the nations. According to a traditional Christian interpretation, for example, the destruction of evil through the death and resurrection of the "seed of the woman" (cf. Genesis 3:15) is the oldest salvation myth in the world with parallels in many cultures, which they hold to have been literally fulfilled through the Virgin Mary, by the virginal conception, wilderness temptation by Satan, crucifixion, burial, resurrection and ascension of Jesus.
In the New Testament, Jesus is said to have raised several persons from death, including the daughter of Jairus shortly after death, a young man in the midst of his own funeral procession, and Lazarus who had been buried for three days. Peter also raised a woman named Dorcas (called Tabitha), and Paul restored a man named Eutychus who had fallen asleep and fell from a window to his death, according to the book of Acts. In the Tanakh (also called Old Testament), Elisha is said to have raised a young boy from death. However, all of these persons are traditionally held to have later died. Also of interest are the Biblical accounts that Enoch and the prophet Elijah were removed into the presence of God without experiencing death, and the traditional belief that the grave of Moses cannot be found because the prophet was raised from the dead. The Virgin Mary is also believed by some Christians to have been taken bodily into heaven, after her death (this belief is held dogmatically by the Roman Catholic Church).
Since Christianity is largely derived from Judaic sources, it is worthwhile pointing out that classical Judaism as continued by Orthodox Jews today, insists that belief in Revival of the Dead is one of the cardinal principals of the Jewish faith. The famous Jewish halakhic - legal authority, Rabbi Moses ben Maimon known as Maimonides set down 13 (thirteen) main principles of the Jewish faith and Resurrection is one of them which is printed in all Orthodox Judaism prayer books to the present time. It is the thirteenth principle and states:
- "I believe with complete (perfect) faith, that there will be techiat hameitim - revival of the dead, whenever it will be God's , blessed be He, will (desire) to arise and do so. May (God's) Name be blessed, and may His remembrance arise, forever and ever"