Alister McGrath on the Soul

Alister McGrath extract 1
McGrath extract 2

McGrath Wikipedia entry

(McGrath) currently holds the Andreas Idreos Professorship in Science and Religion in the Faculty of Theology and Religion at the University of Oxford, and is Professor of Divinity at Gresham College. He was previously Professor of Theology, Ministry, and Education at King’s College London and Head of the Centre for Theology, Religion and Culture, Professor of Historical Theology at the University of Oxford, and was principal of Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, until 2005.

McGrath holds three doctorates from the University of Oxford: a doctoral degree in molecular biophysics, a Doctor of Divinity degree in theology, and a Doctor of Letters degree in intellectual history.

Someone for a future interview?


The article (“extract 1”) mentions that the Jews didn’t share the Greek idea that the soul was liberated from the body at the time of death.

I think this technically incorrect, either because some Jews were influenced by the Greeks, and/or influenced by the Persian ideas on the afterlife.

Josephus writes about the Zealot speech made at Masada, just before the Romans occupied the fortress. Some have argued that the speech was probably not actually given by the Zealot leader. And I can accept that verdict. The importance of the speech is that it describes how Josephus understood the views of these Zealots (most likely a branch of the Essenes):

they believed the soul did not sleep upon death (though a 3 day pause may have involved sleep). The Essenes believed that righteous souls travelled to the Blessed Isle, separated from the rest of the mortal world by a might river or ocean expanse.

You might also find this article by N T Wright interesting;
Mind Spirit Soul and Body

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