St. Jerome- Against Heretical Concepts of the Resurrection

(from Letter LXXXIV, c. 400 A.D.)

“We believe, say they, in the resurrection of the body. This confession, if only it be sincere, is free from objection. But as there are bodies celestial, and bodies terrestrial, and as thin air and the ether are both according to their natures called bodies, they use the word body instead of the word flesh in order that an orthodox person hearing them say body may take them to mean flesh, while a heretic will understand that they mean spirit. This is their first piece of craft…”

“The present is not a time to speak rhetorically against a perverse doctrine. Neither the rich vocabulary of Cicero nor the fervid eloquence of Demosthenes could adequately convey the warmth of my feeling, were I to attempt to expose the quibbles by which these heretics, while verbally professing a belief in the resurrection, in their hearts deny it. For their women finger their breasts, slap their chests, pinch their legs and arms, and say, ‘What will a resurrection profit us if these frail bodies are to rise again? No, if we are to be like angels, we shall have the bodies of angels.’ That is to say they scorn to rise again with the flesh and bones wherewith even Christ rose.”

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