Christians speaking to the dead

trueseek1's picture

Had never thought of it this way, until I found a book on the shelf expounding on one of the well known passages of the Holy Scriptures: The Transfiguration passage. Jesus has a live visit from Moses and Elijah and in the presence of the other fallible men, a couple of apostles, he enters into conversation with these two "dead saints". The author also highlighted another instance when God rose the dead and they went into the cities to show themselves as alive in Christ. I had read these passages many times before, and heard countless evangelical sermons on them, but in all my previous readings of the last couple of hundred years of evangelical commentaries, I had never heard of the reality that these visitations represented. Does anyone know how did the faithful early Church fathers who honored God, in the nonheretical Church, view these passages?

Also, the author differentiated clearly between using a medium to reach the dead as Saul did to talk to Samuel, and both these passages, with the understanding that Christ revealed clearly that it is not sinful to have a conversation with a live saint, but evil if one tries to use mediums as the ungodly do.

Thanks for all insights on these passages.

michael_legna's picture


RJL asked -
If you find any early Christian writings expounding these events, please let us know.

You might try these two areas

I point these out as a way to possibly introduce you to a resource some of you may not know about call the e-Catena (meaning electronic chain). It is based on the Catena Aurea (the Golden Chain) a work by Thomas Aquinas, where he assembled all of the references he was aware of by the ECF with reagrd to the verses in the four Gospels (he may have meant to do the entire NT but that was as far as he got - which is still impressive since he did it by hand and memory before the days of computers). He did this in hopes that these references by the ECF could offer in effect a commentary on the Gospels.

Sometimes the references in the e-Catena are merely the ECF quoting the verse in a letter to someone and other times it is them expounding on their understanding of the verse. But they are almost always a good read. The project is not complete, and who knows it may never be, but most verses have at least one reference to review as well as links to the text of the original documents electronically as well.