1

The Sadducees denied a coming resurrection of the dead, since they accepted only the written Torah as scripture. However, their movement went extinct in the early first millenium. After them, who was the first known Jew to deny that a literal resurrection of the dead would occur in the future?

1 Answer 1

0

You could say it was the Rambam. Yes, his 13th principle of faith is "The dead will be resurrected." But he made it clear he believed in a spiritual, not a bodily, resurrection, saying:

All men must die equally, their bodies becoming dissolved into their constituent matter. [Rambam, Introduction to Sanhedrin 10]

There are no bodies and no bodily forms in the World to Come… There is no eating or drinking there, nor is there anything which the human body needs in this world. Nor does there occur there any of the events which occur to the human body in this world, such as sitting, standing, sleep, death, distress, laughter, and so forth. The ancient sages say: "In the World to Come, there is no eating or drinking or procreation, but the righteous sit with their crowns on their heads and bask in the radiance of the Divine Presence... There is no way for us in this world to know or comprehend the great goodness which the soul experiences in the world to come, for in this world we know only of material pleasures, and it is these we desire. [Rambam, Yad, Teshuvah 8]

The Ravad countered:

The words of this man seem to me to be very near to those who say there is no resurrection of the body, but only of the soul. By my life, this is not the view of the Sages. [Rabbi Avraham ben David of Posquières on Yad, Teshuvah 8:2]

4
  • 2
    No. You can't. איגרת תחיית המתים Mar 21 at 10:27
  • @Deuteronomy -- That is what the Rambam said. My additional quote makes his position crystal-clear. Apr 30 at 2:32
  • 2
    @MauriceMizrahi you claim "he made it clear he believed in a spiritual, not a bodily, resurrection" yet your citations do not make this clear at all. You have not laid out your argument, you simply state your naked conclusion as fact. The Rabad (an anti-Maimonidean) saying that in his eyes the Rambam's articulation here sounds similar to him (בעיני קרובים) to those who deny non-corporeal resurrection does not prove that in fact any such denial existed. It does not show what you claim it does. In fact it shows that he thought the Rambam's wording came close but didn't actually affirm any denial Apr 30 at 18:51
  • 2
    The Rambam clearly affirmed it (see his letter above). In his eschatology, the messianic era and the later resurrection of the dead are not referred to as events that occur in 'Olam ha-Ba. This term is reserved in the Rambam's mesorah for the non-corporeal postmortem life of the soul. There are all kinds of interesting questions we can ask such as what the purpose of resurrection would be in the Rambam's system - but that is an entirely separate matter than whether he affirmed it or not. Apr 30 at 18:52

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .