1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Palingenesis

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PALINGENESIS (Gr. πάλιν, γένεσις, becoming, birth), a term used in philosophy, theology and biology. In philosophy it denotes in its broadest sense the theory (e.g. of the Pythagoreans) that the human soul does not die with the body but is " born again " in new incarnations. It is thus the equivalent of metempsychosis (q.v.). The term has a narrower and more specific use in the system of Schopenhauer, who applies it to his doctrine that the will does not die but manifests itself afresh in new individuals. He thus repudiates the primitive metempsychosis doctrine which maintains the reincarnation of the particular soul. The word " palingenesis " or rather " palingenesia " may be traced back to the Stoics, who used the term for the continual re-creation of the universe by the Demiurgus (Creator) after its absorption into himself. Similarly Philo speaks of Noah and his sons as leaders of a " renovation " or " re-birth " of the earth. Josephus uses the term of the national restoration of the Jews, Plutarch of the transmigration of souls, and Cicero of his own return from exile. In the New Testament the properly theological sense of spiritual regeneration is found, though the word itself occurs only twice; and it is used by the church fathers, e.g. for the rite of baptism or for the state of repentance. In modern biology (e.g. Haeckel and Fritz Müller) " palingenesis " has been used for the exact reproduction of ancestral features by inheritance, as opposed to " kenogenesis " (Gr. καινός new), in which the inherited characteristics are modified by environment.