The Relation of Souls to Their Soulless Corporeity


Sec. VII,

"The souls of the righteous are in God's hand, and there shall no torment touch them" (Wisd. iii. 1). This assertion of an apocryphal book is conformed to the sense of canonical Scripture, in proportion as it is certain that there is a justifying grace which delivers from wrath and its effects. When, therefore, Job (xiv. 21) says of the dead,

"Should his sons come to honour, he kuoweth it not;
Or into affliction, he perceiveth it not:
Only his own flesh suffereth pain,
And his own soul mourneth,"—

it might thence be concluded, with the addition of Isa. lxvi. 24, Judith xvi. 17, that the process of bodily corruption casts its painful reflection on the separated souls; but the souls of the righteous are in peace, and, to use the words of Mayfart,1 wait for the resurrection of their bodies with longing, but yet not with pain, but with joy.

Yet an assumption underlies that representation of Job, darkened as it is by spiritual opposition,—an assumption which meets us everywhere in the Holy Scripture,—that the union of the soul and its body, namely, is indeed severed by death, but is not annihilated. "Tlie soul," says Goschel,2 "proves itself even in death the middle term; it performs even after death the function of mediating between body and spirit; it maintains during the external separation deep within the threads of the connection of all the three powers. The continuous life of the spirit preserves the connection with the forsaken body and the bodily life in its memory; and there continues also between the soul of the spirit and the dead body, during the intermediate period, a secret relation, somewhat akin to a relation of polarity, a mutual attraction, a rapport." There needs, after what was said in the fifth section, no further proof of the scriptural character of this assertion. There are still, moreover, at our disposal other proofs.

When the son of the woman of Sarepta died, Elijah stretched himself three times upon the corpse, and prayed that the soul of the child might come back to it (1 Kings xvii. 21). In a

1 Himmlisches Jerusalem (1664), book ii. ch. i.

1 Letzte Dinge, pp. 172,150, comp. also Heyder, I.e., p. 47 : " Quaeritur, num distracta ea, quae in homine vivo sunt conjuncta, nullo jam cohsereant modo? Vix credibile id quidem videbitur, si ad illam respexeris rationem quae inter corpus, animam, spiritum e sacrorum autorum sententia intercedit;" and Beck, Seelcnlehre, p. 40: "-The individual living constitution appears rent and loosened asunder, but still.not unconditionally abolished ; but as, in a chemical analysis, the agents obtain a new union, so, while there remainB to the soul its capacity o£ perception as akin to the body, to the spirit the capacity of soul, they must still be held together by the united effort after a new living formation of the dissolved individuality."

similar manner, Elislia in prayer lays himself upon the corpse of the child of the Shunammite woman, mouth to mouth, eyes to eyes, hands to hands, pressing himself closely to it, and thus warms the chilled flesh, and brings it to that point at which the boy sneezes and opens his eyes (2 Kings iv. 34). In both these cases death is not only apparent, but it has actually ensued. But that the soul in both cases can be, and must have been, brought back, entitles us to conclude that its relation to the body is still one that is closer, in proportion to the shortness of the time that it has left it. Precisely in the same way is explained the wondrous miracle that is recorded in 2 Kings xiii. 21). Moreover, the New Testament raisings of the dead (Jairus' daughter, the widow's son of Nain, Tabitha) occur shortly after death has taken place. Only the raising of Lazarus that had been dead four days, as an isolated act of the kind of the future Kaiser of the dead, makes an exception. Otherwise all the miracles of resurrection are recalls of the soul, as it were, on the way from this world to the other." We say "as it were;" for in fact the soul, from the moment at which the thread of life is severed, is in the other world, but still in such a lively relation of itself to its forsaken body, that a miraculous reunion with the latter is permissible.1

It is, moreover, consistent with this, that in the Old Testament, according to a mode of speech which occurs for the first time wholly unartificially in Lev. xix. 28, the corpse is called #W.2 It is a task for biblical psychology to solve the enigma of this usus loquendi. J. D. Michaelis asks whether in the sense of dead body, does not probably refer to the verb B^W in

1 Vid. Schubert, Gesch. der Seele, ii. 446. The Talmud says, with reference to 1 Sam. xxviii. 3, "Twelve months, as long as the body is still uncorrupted, the soul hovers up and down," etc. (b. Sabbath 1526). That the soul continues still in a certain association with the corpse, and through it with the earthly life, is a view very widely diffused in antiquity.

1 That t?W has this meaning is shown by Num. xix. 13, comp. 11, where it is an explanatory permutative of no: comp. riD E*W, in association with the genitive, Lev. xxi. 11, Num. vi. 6; E'S3"J<DB, Lev. xxii. 4, Hag. ii. 13; comp. E'S^, Lev. xxi. 1, Num. v. 2, ix. 6, vii. 10; Kt2n, Num.

vi. 11; £;S3S B"IE'i Lev. xix. 28. Therewith accords the talmudic and Syriac use of t?W, naficho, in the meaning—a monument, e.g. in the beautiful expression of Simon b. Gamaliel, "No nit?S3 are raised to the pious,

the sense of exspirare? Impossible, because the verb only means to breathe, respirare, not to breathe out, to expire, iiarveeiv. Gesenius thinks that nD t?S3 is used as of mortuus quis; but, on the other hand, that t?S3 means nothing but aliquis, implies that t?W, even in respect to itself alone, is already the name of the corpse. Bottcher explains in a similar way, that E'??. implies the person, and only (first of all in the association nD t?W) the corpse, for the reason that even the unsouled body was regarded by the Hebrews still as a person;1 but he proceeds upon the false assumption that CSS cannot by itself alone signify the corpse (which is contradicted by the previously occurring mode of speech), and substantially the explanation is as good as none: for as E'W, even in the sense of person, maintains, for the Hebrew speech, consciousness—its fundamental significance—the question recurs, how the corpse can be called i.e. soul = person. Rather might it be said—since, according to biblical and especially Old Testament representation, the death'of man is a death of his soul—that the corpse is called t?W as a dead soul; but even this is not likely to be possible, as the soul, according to biblical ideas, dies indeed, but is not, in the sense of materialism, mortal, but, separated from the decaying corpse ("US, n*"l3, irrwfia, aw/^a), continues to subsist without annihilation or remanation. How then? Is the corpse perhaps called t?W as being divested of soul? Such a nomenclature per antiphrasin is in Hebrew without example. Even in Greek it is true the butterfly is called tyi^rj, but not the chrysalis or the caterpillar.2 Or is the corpse called t?W, soul,

their works are their honourable remembrance" (Scliekalim ii. 7) ; and in the Syriac translation of 1 Mace. xiii. 28, of the monument with seven pyramids which Simon Maccabeus erected to his fathers and their sons. This tT33 does not signify the tombstone, but a stone edifice built over the grave with exalted walls. See thereupon Zitnz zur Gesch. u. Literatur, p. 390; cornp. Perles, in Frankel's Monatsschift, 1861, p. 392.

1 See de inferis, sec. 127. Knobcl also says, of the corpse signifies the person as dead.

2 J. Grimm, ftlylhologie, ii. 789 (ed. iii.), and especially Bottcher's Ideas on Art-Mythology, vol. ii. (1836), Cursus 4; the fable of Amor and Psyche. On sarcophagi, Eros and Psyche mean the soul, as it were, having burst the cocoon, escaped from the dungeon, reunited with the heavenly body, the object of its longing; comp. Ottfricd Muller, Handbuch der Archaologie, p. 591 (ed. ii.).

per euphemismum? This explanation would be relatively the best, but only in default of another which should be better.

The true reason of the designation is found in the impression which a corpse makes. The body of a person just dead gives a far more direct impression of soul than the body of a living person. The lively and plain bodily effected activity has ceased ; its psychical background appears in the solemn stillness that has now supervened as an open secret. The whole internal nature of the man lies in the corpse, as if turned out before us. We look there into the depth of the soul's struggle and of the soul's peace under which the separation of the soul and the body ensued; and the soul still hovers, to brighten or to disfigure, over its structure so lately forsaken. Therefore every corpse makes an impression, so gloomy, spiritual, and phantom-like; and therefore it is called The corpse of the person just dead still bears the recent traces of its soul, which, separating itself, has, as it were, impressed itself upon it: it is the dwelling of the soul that is left behind; it is, as it were, itself that which was soul. Therefore the Romans also call it manes {e.g. Lucan: inhumatos condere manes); therefore in Homer occurs the notion, that the Psyches in Hades have the appearance of the dead person at the moment of his death (0<7. \. 38-43); therefore, also, an old funeral urn itself has the inscription, 'Ev fivpois, Q> reicvov, rj ^v^rj.1

In thus designating the corpse, therefore, is affirmed the principle that, although death abrogates the living association of the soul and body, it still does not neutralize the relation of the former to the latter. Soon after the occurrence of death, this relation is still so near a one, that the corpse may be called B'W. As corruption gradually advances, it then becomes more and more vague, but still continues to subsist undestroyed; so that although, on the one hand, the resurrection is indeed a new creative work of divine omnipotence, yet, on the other, to use the words of Gregory of Nyssa,2 it is a concurrence of things that belong to one another, and of elements combining again by virtue of a mysterious natural attraction (tow

1 Gaetano Marini, Iscrizioni antiche, p. 184.

2 Vid. de hominis opificio, p. 116, and especially the detailed elucidation of the matter in the Dialogue with Makrina, pp. 213-219, in vol. iii. of the Paris edition.

Oikciwv avvSpofirj, appr'jT(p Tivl Ty rt]S cpuaew< ; oXKrj 71750? To <Stov iirevyofievwv). Still even a later and well-known physiologist says that, in the relation which still continues to subsist between the soul and the earth to which its body is committed, are based the conditions of the restoration of the organic individuality dissolved by death, or the re-creation of a new bodily life for it.1

1 Purkinje, in 12. Wagner, W. iii. ii. 470.