Source:

Opera Omnia volume 5
Ludovic Dutens (ed)
p 316



Date: 22 March 1711

Translated from the Latin



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LEIBNIZ TO SEBASTIAN KORTHOLT


[D V, p316]

     The material about the life of the dead according to the opinion of the ancient heathens is excellent, and worthy of you. The Englishman Toland somewhere wanted to persuade us that the immortality of the soul was an invention of the Egyptians,1 but it is evident that the Greeks of the most distant times thought the same thing. Lucan testifies that the Celtic druids thought the same,2 and in America itself the people of Virginia believe that the souls of the dead dwell on the other side of a great chain of mountains, and lastly there is the most ancient opinion of the Indians about the migration of souls.





NOTES:

1. Leibniz is referring here to the second of John Toland's Letters to Serena (London, 1704), 19-68 (entitled 'The history of the soul's immortality among the heathens'), especially 40-42.
2. An allusion to Lucan, Pharsalia I.451-457.


© Lloyd Strickland 2013