Religion Past and Present

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(1,423 words)

[German Version]


The word reincarnation, like the similar expression transmigration of souls (I), from which it is generally not distinguished, refers to various notions of how a person’s soul or spirit may be reembodied for a new life (or series of lives) on earth. A possible terminological distinction might be made between transmigration and reincarnation by restricting reincarnation primarily to the modern Western variant first proposed by G.E. Lessing (Die Erziehung des Menschengeschlechts, 1780, §§94ff.; ET: T…

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Badewien, Jan, Kleine, Christoph and Schneider, Johannes, “Reincarnation”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 05 August 2020 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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