Aquinas, Resurrection, and Material Continuity

Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 75:135-147 (2001)
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Abstract

Aquinas’s understanding of bodily resurrection can take two different directions. Either continuity of the soul alone is sufficient to reconstitute the same body as the pre-mortem body at the resurrection, or continuity of the matter of the pre-mortem body is also required. After arguing that Aquinas’s account of personal identity over time requires sameness of soul and sameness of body, I suggest that Aquinas’s two possible views on bodily resurrection are consistent with this account of personal identity and are both plausible views for Aquinas to take. I then defend the possibility of the view that requires material continuity against certain objections which come from within Aquinas’s own philosophies of form, matter, and the elements. But the result is that Aquinas cannot consistently hold that material continuity hinges on the preservation of numerically the same material elements as the pre-mortem body.

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