SV: Origins of the "double-truth"

Lars Martin Fosse lmfosse at ONLINE.NO
Mon Dec 25 14:48:35 UTC 2000

Bjarte Kaldhol [SMTP:bjartekal at AH.TELIA.NO] skrev 25. desember 2000 15:06:
> I have not read Bruce Lincoln's book and do not know why he places
> Parmenides in an old Indo-European tradition of which India is also a
> Parmenides' background was  the Ionian Asia Minor, where Greek philosophy
> was born, in contact with oriental influences. Indian influence on Greek
> philosophy remains conjectural, but transmigration of souls might have
> one such influence, see W. Burkert, ANCIENT MYSTERY CULTS, HUP, 1987, p.
> 87: "Transmigration of souls is a doctrine that suddenly appeared in the
> Greek world toward the end of the sixth century B.C. We find the name of
> either Pythagoras or Orpheus attached to it, and we have the word of
> that it was told in mysteries, teletai, and found 'strong believers'
> there...

The following quote from Caesar shows that the doctrine was known among the
Celts as well:

The Druids habitually are absent from war, do not pay tributes along with
the rest, and have freedom from military service and immunity in all
things. ... Above all, they wish to convince people that souls do not
perish (lit. "become lost"), but after death pass from certain bodies to
others, and this they believe to excite courage most greatly, the fear of
death being neglected. Beyond this, they dispute concerning the stars and
their motion, the size of the universe and the earth, the nature of things,
and the immortal gods and their power, and this they teach to their youths.
[p. 149, oversettelse fra Caesar De Bello Gallico, 6.13-15]

This question was discussed on Indology in 1996. I suggest you have a look
at the mailings in that year and search for metempsychosis and

The fact that the theme of transmigration turns up in Greece in the 6th
century BCE simply means that this was the time when it was first
*recorded* in Greece. It does not necessarily mean that this was the first
time it *turned up* in Greece! We cannot assume that Indo-European religion
was uniforme, and belief in transmigration may have been one of several
"trends" that survived in different Indo-European areas. When
transmigration is introduced by Yajnavalkya in the ChandogyaUp. (I
believe!), it is introduced as a "Geheimlehre". It may not have been a
universal belief in any of the Indo-European peoples.

Lars Martin Fosse

Dr. art. Lars Martin Fosse
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