reincarnation (rēˌĭnkärnāˈshən) [key] [Lat., = taking on flesh again], occupation by the soul of a new body after the death of the former body. Beliefs vary as to whether the soul assumes the new body immediately or only after an interval of disembodiment. Although some religions teach that it may inhabit a higher or lower form of life, most believe that the soul is consistently reincarnated in the same species. See transmigration of souls.

See J. Head and S. L. Cranston, ed., Reincarnation: An East-West Anthology (1961) and Reincarnation in World Thought (1967).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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