Emperor responsible for ban on rebirth doctrine
In 553 AD the Emperor Justinius had teachings on reincarnation banned.
"It seems reasonable to conclude that the so-called ban concerning the doctrine of reincarnation is the result of an historical error and contains no ecclesiastical authority whatsoever." The German author, Peter Andreas, expresses this point of view in his book, Jenseits von Einstein. Andreas gives attention to the concept of reincarnation and, particularly, to the manner in which any consideration of the topic was suppressed within the Catholic church — not by profound theological study, but by the action of a Roman Emperor.
In a chapter devoted to reincarnation, Andreas writes: "The Christian churches have very little indeed to say about reincarnation. They can hardly be blamed because the Bible is apparently sadly lacking in this respect. In fact, we may ask, if the subject of reincarnation is so important — from the religious point of view — why is there so little mention of it in the Bible?
"The few Bible references indicate that from the earliest times supporters and opponents of reincarnation have waged bitter ‘war’. Jesus’ remark to Nicodemus, for instance, "Thou must be born again" can be interpreted as a reference to spiritual rebirth, according to the opponents of the idea (of reincarnation).
"Naturally, the Nazarene must have had his own reasons for not going more deeply into the subject. Perhaps he believed the truth to be too complicated for the limited understanding of people then, and that it was of greater importance to clarify the essence of his teaching and emphasise the message of love. He did not warn against belief in reincarnation.
Nowadays, there is little doubt that early Christians gave more credence to the concept of rebirth than was later the case. The main figure responsible for this change was no churchman but an ambitious, worldly and powerful figure Emperor Justinius. In the year 553, quite independently of the Pope, Justinius had the teachings of the church father Origen (185-253) banned by a synod. Origen had spoken out in unmistakable terms on the question of the repeated incarnations of the soul:
Andreas goes on to describe how Emperor Justinius managed to manipulate the 5th Ecumenical Council in 553 which resulted in the ban against Origen: "Strangely enough, there was not one Roman bishop present at this conference; apart from six African notables there were only Eastern bishops present. A curious feature of this Council was that although Pope Vigilius was in Constantinople at the time of the Council he did not attend. There had previously been conflict between Vigilius and the Emperor and the Empress Theodora. Justinius refused to accede to the Pope’s request for a stronger delegation of bishops from both West and East at the Council and then proceeded to convene the Council himself. The Pope did not attend, as a gesture of protest, and as an indication that he would not be held responsible for the Council. The ruling monarch did not have an entirely free hand, however, since official regulations drawn up during the eight sessions of the Council, which met over a period of four weeks, had to be officially endorsed by the Pope. This duly took place; the documents, however, only dealt with the so-called ‘Three Chapters’ controversy — the work of three scholars considered by Justinius to be heretics. The Emperor had already issued an edict against these men. No mention was made of Origen. Research suggests that suspicions about Justinius were valid. Neither Pope Plagius I (556-561) nor Pope Gregorius (590-604) mentioned Origen when writing about the 5th Council."
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