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Borrowed from Ancient Greek παλιγγενεσία (palingenesía, rebirth), formed from πάλιν (pálin, again) and γένεσις (génesis, birth).


  • enPR: pălĭnjĕnǝsǝs, IPA(key): /ˌpælɪnˈdʒɛnəsəs/
  • (file)


palingenesis (countable and uncountable, plural palingeneses)

  1. (biology, obsolete or historical) The apparent repetition, during the development of a single embryo, of changes that occurred previously in the evolution of its species.
    • 1882, “Summary of current researches relating to zoology and botany”, in Journal of the Royal Microscopical Society[1], page 493:
      In the Entoprocta these can be easily made out, but in the Ectoprocta it is not always so distinct; in the forms where the zoœcium is elongated we seem to have the primitive disposition, in the flattened ones the tergal surface is increased in extent; palingenesis is to be seen in the Ectoprocta, cœnogenesis in the Entoprocta.
    • 1894, “Address by Henry Fairfield Osborn”, in Proceedings of the American Association for the Advancement of Science[2], volume 42, page 197:
      Now that all mammals are led back to a distant diphyodont stem, it is also true that the further we go back both in palingenesis and embryogenesis, the more widespread heterodontism is—all modern homodontism proving to be secondary.
    • 1998, Arthur McCalla, A Romantic Historiosophy[3], page 156:
      It is not, as Foucault asserts, that Bonnet's palingenesis is absolutely opposed to evolutionism; it is that his model of is internalist rather than externalist.
  2. (geology) The regeneration of magma by the melting of metamorphic rocks.
    • 1926, G.W. Tyrrell, The Principles of Petrology: An Introduction to the Science of Rocks[4], page 336:
      This process of regeneration of magma has been called palingenesis by Sederholm, who ascribes to it many of the Archæan granite and granodiorite masses of Fennoscandia.
    • 1950, Caleb Wroe Wolfe, This Earth of Ours: Past and Present, page 58:
      Sedimentary rocks may weather to produce more sedimentary rocks; they may be metamorphosed to produce metamorphic rocks; or they may be transformed to magma by palingenesis.
    • 1984, M. Kucera, Industrial Minerals and Rocks[5], page 72:
      In ultrametamorphism, useful components and volatiles, particularly water, are mobilized before partial anatexis or palingenesis of rocks takes place.
  3. (theology, philosophy) Spiritual rebirth through the transmigration of the soul.
    • 1849, The Westminster Review[6], page 65:
      To appear again as identically the same, would require the palingenesis of Plato, that is, the recommencement of all things, so as to have the same series of causes and effects from the very beginning; but this creed implies the finality of God's power in the phenomenal universe, and Plato never thought that.
    • 1859, Charles Delucena Meigs, Woman: her diseases and remedies: a series of letters to his class, page 424:
      This evolution doctrine was opposed by the Pythagorean idea of a palingenesis, or metempsychosis []
    • 1870, John Bickford Heard, The Tripartite Nature of Man, Spirit, Soul, and Body[7], page 333:
      But by the light of Bichat and Bell's discoveries, we can see one way to a theory of a Palingenesis of man, in which the flesh and blood of St. Paul, the animal life of Bichat, is eliminated, and the pneumatical body or organic life, the senso-motor nervous system, as distinct from the mere ganglionic, is retained.
  4. (more generally) Rebirth; regeneration.
    • 1892, Johann Eduard Erdmann, A History of Philosophy[8], page 111:
      For one of these, Johann Jakob Wagner, who had been misunderstood and was almost forgotten, a palingenesis had already begun.
    • 2000, Eugen Weber, Apocalypses: Prophecies, Cults, and Millennial Beliefs Through the Ages[9], page 62:
      In contrast to this decaying world of darkness, the contemporary clerks, scholars, and gentlemen who named the Renaissance presented it as a resurrection: a revival of texts, art, systems of government, and ways of thinking long dormant; a renovatio, or renewal, of knowledge long lost and now plumbed anew; a palingenesis, or the beginning of a new world cycle after the old had worn itself out.
    • 2009, Damiano Canale, A Treatise of Legal Philosophy and General Jurisprudence[10], volume 9:
      On this model, codification was not aimed at effecting a palingenesis of civil society or at guaranteeing individual autonomy against public powers.
  5. The recurrence of historical events in the same order in an infinite series of cycles.


Related terms[edit]