The theory of reincarnation and the journey of the soul : a comparison between ancient Greek and Indian belief.
The objective of this dissertation is to demonstrate that, although contemporary Hinduism and ancient Greek philosophy are far removed from each other by time and geography, the ancient Greeks and Indians nevertheless shared similar ideas with regard to the soul and reincarnation. To place this research within a scholarly context, the dissertation begins with some general observations about the concept of reincarnation in human beliefs across the world. It then continues with an overview of research into the idea of the soul and reincarnation in these two cultures to find a connection between them. It then proceeds to trace the evolution and origins of the idea of the soul and its possible reincarnation in ancient Greek literature. This will be done by an examination of selected ancient Greek sources to establish a chronological timeline of the development of these ideas/theories. For the Indian part of this dissertation the idea of the soul and reincarnation will be determined through an in-depth analysis of Hindu scriptures written in Sanskrit, as well as by investigating other scholars’ analysis of the Hindu scriptures. A comparison between the two cultures and their roles within their respective cultural and religious systems will then be undertaken in order to deduce if there was a pre-Hellenistic (Indo-European period) exchange between the cultures. This dissertation seeks to expand on and deepen existing comparative studies in respect of the ancient Greek and Indian cultures.