Paul’s statement that seeds die after sowing in the soil before they germinate is often assessed as a commonly held view of antiquity. Some scholars even claim that it conforms to the scientific standards of ancient philosophy. This paper examines the sources cited as evidence for this claim and shows that it is untenable. Paul’s formulation is very unusual. His idea that seeds die does not make sense on the background of ancient botany. Similar, albeit not identical ideas can be found only in the context of some ancient mystery cults. It is difficult to assess how wide-spread they were.