Barry Newman's Blog

September 16, 2010

The Essence of Spirit (XV)

Filed under: kardia,Leb and Lebab,nephesh,psuche,The Heart,The Soul — barrynewman @ 9:28 pm

Comparison of the Semantic Domains of Ruach and Pneuma with those for Leb/Lebab and Kardia, and Nephesh and Psuche

The domains of ruach and pneuma overlap with those of leb/lebab and kardia, and nephesh and psuche in a number of areas.  Sometimes they may refer to the same entity, for instances “breath” as is the case with nephesh and psuche, and ruach and pneuma.  The righteous leb/lebab or kardia can barely be distinguished from the righteous nephesh or psuche and the distressed of leb/lebab or kardia can barely be distinguished from the distressed in ruach or pneuma.  Overall, however, the three sets of words serve different purposes.  Taking the emotional aspects of mankind as an example, in general terms the differences are as follows.  Leb/lebab or kardia, in modern terms, the mind is the source of the emotions.  The nephesh or psuche, the person, portray emotional characteristics.  The ruach or pneuma of the person refers to that non-tangible inner being that possesses the emotional characteristics.  Though the three sets of words operate here and there within the same domains, in general terms they refer to different entities.

That the semantic domain of ruach is substantially different to those of leb/lebab and nephesh on the one hand and that the semantic domain of pneuma is substantially different to those of nephesh and psuche on the other is illustrated by comparing the frequency with which these words are used of God and of mankind.  See Table 14. In this table the frequency of occurrence is given as the ratio of the number of instances, where the word is used of God or mankind, to the total number of instances.  The ratio is then given as a percentage.

    Leb/lebab Nephesh Ruach Kardia Psuche Pneuma
Used of God Frequency% 27/8553 21/7543 104/385  27 1/1611 2./1122 230/372   62
Used of Mankind Frequency % 791/855   93 694/754  92 156/385 41 158/161 98 108/112 96 72/372    19

Table 14 – Comparison between Frequency of Usage with Reference to God or Mankind, of Leb/lebab, Nephesh and Ruach, and Kardia, Psuche and Pneuma

Whereas both the Hebrew words leb/lebab and nephesh are used relatively rarely of God, ruach is used somewhat frequently of God.  The former pair is used very commonly but ruach far less commonly, with reference to mankind.  Comparing the usage of the pair of Greek words kardia and psuche, with that for pneuma reveals a similar pattern.

Concluding Remarks

Except for the notion of wind, often evident in the use of ruach, the semantic domains of ruach in the Old Testament and pneuma in the New Testament are somewhat similar though the relative populations of the categories that inhabit those domains differ.  Taken together their semantic domain, as judged by a western mind, is however rather diffuse in character.  This is consistent with the general character of each of the words, as judged by the western mind, that is, the non-material, non-tangible though functional reality on which they focus – their essence.

May 10, 2010

The Heart in the New Testament (Full Series PDF)

Filed under: dianoia,kardia,nous,phroneo,The Heart — barrynewman @ 10:33 pm

Here is the full series

May 6, 2010

“The Heart” in the New Testament (part (VIII)

Filed under: kardia,nous,phroneo,The Heart — barrynewman @ 10:23 pm

Other Words Serving a Similar Function to Kardia (cont.)

Nous or a cognate occurs 24 times in the New Testament.  On 3 occasions reference is made to the nous – mind of the Lord or Christ.  Using the categorisation scheme applied to kardia, 6 instances would belong to each of the categories: “The wise/understanding/knowing heart” and “The unrighteous heart”, 2 to each of “The righteous heart” and “The noble heart” and 1 each to “The heart able to be influenced”, “The heart able to contain or receive”, “The heart set towards God”, “The internally active heart” and “The wise heart”.  As with dianoia, although the number of instances is small, from its usage in the New Testament, nous operates in a similar manner to kardia.

Phroneo belongs to a large group, members of which include phren, phronema, phronesis, homophron, phrenapates, tapeinophron, sophroneo, phronimos and aphron.  Phren is found twice in the New Testament and relates to one’s thinking.  Phronema is found 4 times and on each occasion seems to refer to something like “thinking/attitude/disposition”. Phronesis occurs twice and seems to refer to something like “ways of thinking”. Homophron occurs once and refers to having the same attitude.  Phrenapates occurs once and refers to deceivers of the intellect/mind, i.e. implying that the phrenapates can be influenced.  Tapeinophron occurs once and refers to the humble mind. Sophroneo occurs 6 times and refers to the person of sober mind. Phronimos is found 14 times and refers to the prudent person and aphron, which occurs 11 times, refers to the fool.  The first four members of the class could be classified as “The internally active heart” and the fifth as “The heart that can be influenced”. To this extent, these members of the group operate in ways consistent with kardiaSophroneo, phronimos and aphron refer to a person having certain mental qualities and it is doubtful that they be viewed as operating in a way similar to kardia. Phroneo itself occurs 31 times.  In 4 instances it is part of a compound word meaning high-minded or sober-minded.  In 22 instances the verbal aspect dominates and refers to the act of thinking or paying attention to. Each of the remaining 5 cases can be understood as referring to something like: “thinking/attitude/disposition.  That in the Septuagint phrenon occurs 6 of its 7 times in the one book – Proverbs may suggest that phroneo is quite limited as a word that can operate in a similar way to lev/levav or kardia.

Psuche was examined ain an earlier blog series.

Other words were examined such as: nephros, nouneches, nouthesia, noutheteo, ennoia, epinoia, noema, noeo, asunetos, sunetos, sunesis, suniemi, sophronizo, sophronismos, tapeinophrosune, mimneskomai, epanomimnesko, hupomimnesko and anamimnesko

Nephros occurs once and in close association with kardia in the phrase (the Son of God) who searches nephrous and kardias.  It seems to have the same role as kardia – it can be searched and known.  Ennoia occurs once and seems to mean something like thinking/attitude/disposition in one instance.  In the other it is associated with kardia but in terms of what is found in the heart.  Noeo occurs 14 times but its meaning of “to understand” dominates in its contexts with one instance having a reference to a passage from Isaiah where the people of God are to be prevented from nohwsin with their hearts. Suniemi occurs 27 times but similarly its meaning of “to understand” dominates its contexts with one reference being to the same passage from Isaiah inclusive of the mention of heart.  There would appear to be no value in referring to any of the other words.

May 5, 2010

“The Heart” in the New Testament (part VII)

Filed under: dianoia,kardia,The Heart — barrynewman @ 8:04 am

Other Words Serving a Similar Function to Kardia

It was clear when considering “the heart” in the Septuagint that the Greek words: dianoia, nous, phren/phroneo and psuche in that text sometimes operate in similar ways to the Greek word kardia.  The question that is then raised is would this also be the case in the New Testament and would such words sometimes perform a similar function to lev/levav of the Old Testament? An examination of the usages of these words and others and how their lexical semantic fields might relate to that for kardia is now detailed below.

Dianoia or a cognate is found 12 times in the New Testament.  In 3 instances it appears in the quote from the Old Testament that refers to “love God with all the heart and soul and strength”.  In each of the three quotes dianoia appears together with kardia although not alongside.  Given that in the Septuagint kardia does not appear but in its place dianoia, it could be argued that in the New Testament, a writer in quoting from a Greek text includes kardia alongside of dianoia, or vice versa partly for purposes of clarification.  Alternatively, perhaps the clarification had already been made in the actual Greek text cited (if it is not the Septuagint as we know it).  Whatever the reasons, it appears that both kardia and dianoia in this instance relate to one’s mental functioning.  In line with the categorisation scheme, these 3 instances would fall into the category: “The heart set towards God”

In Hebrews 8:10 in a quote from Jeremiah 31: 33, the words used are: “giving my laws into their dianoian and I will inscribe them upon their kardias”.  In Hebrews 10: 16 using the same quote, the words are “giving my laws into their kardias and I will inscribe them upon their dianoion”.  Kardia and dianoia are treated equivalently.  Incidentally, the Septuagint (Jeremiah 38:33) refers to laws being put into the dianoian and writing them on the kardias. In terms of the categorisation scheme, these 2 instances would fall into “The heart able to be influenced” Of the remaining 7 instances, in terms of the categorisation scheme used for kardia, 4 would belong to “The internally active heart”, 2 to “The wise/understanding/knowing heart” and 1 to “ The righteous heart”.  Although the number of instances of dianoia is small, from its usage in the New Testament, dianoia operates in a similar manner to kardia.

May 2, 2010

“The Heart” in the New Testament (part VI)

Filed under: kardia,Lev and Levav — barrynewman @ 4:41 am

A comparison of the Lexical Semantic Fields of lev/levav and kardia (cont.)

Of the 13 main categories listed in Table 1, 12 also appear as members of the 16 categories appearing in the equivalent Table in “The Matter of the Heart”. The 4 main categories in the latter Table not appearing in the Table 1 here were “The heart not set towards God”, “The heart that is the mind” “The unsettled heart” and “The person”.  The category in Table 1 here not listed in the other Table is “The heart that is the inner being”.  There is however some overlap between “The heart that is the mind” and “The heart that is the inner being”.  The difference between the two categorizations is hardly significant however given the small number of instances involved – 4 in “The heart that is the inner being, 16 in “The unsettled heart”, 4 in “The heart that is the mind” from a total of 805 usages of lev/levav and 3 in “The person” from a total of 164 usages of kardia.

At the minor category level while there are many similarities in the categories created there are also differences.  One would suspect that these differences are due in part to the much smaller number of instances being available for investigation in the case of the New Testament. There are similar high percentage frequencies for “The internally active heart” (22 for lev/levav and 25 for kardia), “The unrighteous heart” (16 for lev/levav and 14 for kardia) and similar low percentages for “The knowing heart”, “The heart able to contain or receive”, “The turning heart”, “The heart of noble character” and “The heart that issues in speech”.  There are however significantly different percentage frequencies for the categories of “The emotional heart” (18 for lev/levav and 7 for kardia) “The righteous heart” (4 for lev/levav and 12 for kardia), “The heart set towards God” (8 for lev/levav and 2 for kardia), “The wise/understanding/knowing heart” (10 for lev/levav and 6 for kardia) and “The heart that can be influenced” (3 for lev/levav and 15 for kardia).  Again the differences could be due to the much smaller number of usages of kardia compared to those of lev/levav. However the contexts of the Old and New Testament scriptures are sometimes vastly different so one would not expect the percentage frequencies to correspond.  The different percentage frequencies for the category of “The righteous heart” – 4 for the Old Testament context and 12 for the New Testament context might be mainly as a result of the two very different contexts of the Testaments taken as a whole, though it should be noted that for the category “The unrighteous heart” there is little difference.  Perhaps what is remarkable is the similarity of percentage frequencies in some of the categories, particularly the large category “The internally active heart”.

In summary, the lexical semantic fields for lev/levav and kardia appear to be rather similar and just as it appeared that the usage of lev/levav in the Old Testament related in the main to mental states and functions so too appears that in the main, in the New Testament kardia relates to much the same.

April 30, 2010

“The Heart” in the New Testament (part V)

Filed under: kardia,Lev and Levav,The Heart — barrynewman @ 8:03 am

A comparison of the Lexical Semantic Fields of lev/levav and kardia

Table 2 is the Table taken from the “The Heart” in the Old Testament series, equivalent to Table 1 above and is inserted for convenience.

Category Sub-category Number of occurrences Percentages[1]
The emotional H                            143 18
  fearful 44  
  happy 53  
  sorrowful 39  
  hateful   4  
  angry   3  
The internally active H                            178 22
  desiring 28  
  planning 28  
  speaking internally 39  
  deciding 30  
  remembering/forgetting 17  
  reflecting 19  
  concentrating 13  
  acting as conscience   4  
Knowing the H                              30  4
  the H can be searched/tried 15  
  opening or not opening the H   7  
  God knows what is in the H   7  
  the H knowing within itself   1  
The H able to contain or receive                               18                             2
  matters being in or on the H   9  
  to take to H   6  
  not to take to H   3  
The unrighteous H                            132                            16
  hardened/stubborn/stony 44  
  proud/lifted up 27  
  evil 12  
  perverse   5  
  sinful/wicked 18  
  deceitful/false/divided/double   9  
  destroys/is destroyed   3  
  needing correction   8  
  other   6  
The H not set towards God                               10                                  1
The righteous H                               36                                      4
  upright 12  
  humble/humbled   5  
  clean/cleansed   4  
  H of integrity   4  
  other 11  
The H set towards God                               61                          8
  seeking/loving with all the H 24  
  seeking God with a perfect H 12  
  set to seek God/towards God 11  
  single-minded in seeking God   6  
  other   8  
The wise/understanding/ knowing H                              83                                     10
  the wise H 32  
  the H that is not wise 20  
  the H that understands   7  
  the H that doesn’t understand   8  
  the H that knows   6  
  the H that searches for wisdom    6  
  other   4  
The turning H                              33                                      4
  the H that turns away from God    7  
  the H that God turns   6  
  the H that turns to God 11  
  the H that does not turn to God    4  
  other   5  
The H that can be influenced                               31  4
  the H that can be touched/spoken to  11  
  the H that can be persuaded   5  
  the responsive/tender/fleshy H    5  
  the H that can be deceived   5  
  the H that can be tempted   3  
  The H written upon   2  
The H of noble character                               19                                      2
  courageous   8  
  free from anxiety   4  
  a settled H   5  
  a H that trusts   2  
The unsettled H                                 6                                           1
The H that issues in speech                                 8                                         1
The H that is the mind or the inner being                               14                                            2
  the H of a man   3  
  another or new H   3  
  other   8  
The person                                3                            -
  A H that may fail or live   3  

                                                                                                        Table 2


[1] The percentages are calculated on a total of 805 usages although there are only 791 distinct references involved.  This is because in a few instances a reference falls into two or more categories.

April 27, 2010

“The Heart” in the New Testament (part IV)

Filed under: kardia,The Heart — barrynewman @ 10:58 pm

Categorisation of Kardia (cont.)

Examples of the major and minor categories in Table 1 are given in the following.

The Emotional Heart: My heart rejoiced, let not your heart be troubled; they were cut to the heart and their hearts were burning within them

The Internally Active Heart: Your heart is where your treasure is; the evil servant says within his heart; why did you purpose in your heart this thing; they were pricked in heart; why do you reason these things in your heart; perhaps the thoughts of your hearts may be forgiven you; whoever shall not doubt in his heart; believing in the heart; those that believed were of one heart and soul; O foolish and slow of heart to believe

Knowing the Heart: God who tries our hearts; you Lord who knows the hearts of all; the secrets of the heart become manifest

The Heart able to Contain or Receive: the word is in your mouth and in your heart; his mother kept all these things in her heart; all who heard lay the matter in their hearts

The Unrighteous Heart: on account of the hardness of their heart; those things which come out of the mouth come out of the heart and they defile a person; the bitterness and contention in your hearts; out of the heart of men … comes adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetous desires

The Righteous Heart: blessed are the pure in heart; we should approach with a true heart; you are our epistle having been inscribed on our hearts; you obeyed out of the heart; by faith having purified their hearts

The Heart Set Towards God: Love the Lord your God with all your heart

The Wise/Understanding/knowing Heart: this people’s heart has waxed fat; a veil lies upon their heart, their foolish heart was darkened; God has shone in our hearts, until the morning star should arise in your hearts

The Turning Heart: turning back their hearts to Egypt; after your hardness and unrepentant heart

The Heart that can be Influenced: the wicked one snatches away what was sown in the heart; God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts; A letter from Christ written … on tablets of fleshy hearts; that he might comfort your hearts; by praise deceive the hearts; you have nourished your hearts in the day of slaughter; she of whom the Lord opened the heart

The Heart of Noble Character: be patient, establish your hearts; exhorted them all with purpose of heart to abide by the Lord; obey your masters in singleness of heart

The Heart that Issues in Speech: out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks; singing and praising with your heart to God

The Heart that is the Inner Being: singing with grace in your heart to the Lord; sanctify the Lord God in your hearts

April 25, 2010

“The Heart” in the New Testament (part III)

Filed under: kardia,The Heart — barrynewman @ 9:58 am

Categorisation of Kardia (cont.)

The larger proportion of usages of kardia relates however to human beings in non-physical and non-metaphorical terms.  There were 158 distinct such instances although duplications and 1 triplication increased the number being analysed to 164.  Table 1 indicates the categorization structure used, the number of occurrences and the % frequencies evident. 

Category Sub-category Number of occurrences Percentages[1]
The emotional H    11   7
  joyful   3  
  sorrowful   6  
  angry   1  
  burning   1  
The internally active H   41 25
  desiring   4  
  speaking internally   4  
  deciding   6  
  acting as a conscience   5  
  reasoning   4  
  thoughts/thinking 12  
  believing   4  
  having a perspective   1  
  taking time   1  
Knowing the H     7   4
  the H that is searched or tried   3  
  God knows the H   3  
  the secrets of the H   3  
The H able to contain or receive     5   3
  what the H contains   2  
  kept in the H   2  
  to take to H   1  
The unrighteous H   23 14
  the hardened H 10  
  evil, a wicked H   9  
  particular sins   5[2]  
  needing correction   1  
The righteous H   20 12
  the pure/blameless/good H   9  
  the caring H   5  
  particular righteousness   2  
  a H cleansed or needing so   4  
The H set towards God     4   2
The wise/understanding/ knowing H   10   6
  the H not understanding   6  
  the unwise H   1  
  the H that understands   3  
The turning H     3   2
The H that can be influenced   25 15
  the H that can be touched   6  
  God’s gifts to the H   6  
  matters written on the H   4  
  the H encouraged   4  
  the H that can be deceived   2  
  the H being benefited   2  
  the responsive H   1  
The H of noble character     6   4
  the settled steadfast H   3  
  a simplicity/singleness of H   3  
The H that issues in speech     5   3
The H that is the inner being     4   2

                                                                                                Table 1


[1] The percentages are based on the number 164

[2] 2 instances here were duplicated in the minor category “evil, a wicked heart” but were not duplicated in the total.

April 23, 2010

“The Heart” in the New Testament (part II)

Filed under: kardia,The Heart — barrynewman @ 9:09 pm

Categorisation of Kardia

Using the categorization created for lev/levav in the O.T. the 161 instances of the use of kardia in the New Testament were able to be accommodated in a similar system.  Given however the difficulty of allotting every instance to a single category, there were some duplications and one triplication.  The total of items then categorized was 169.  This increase of about 4% was not thought to create any significant difficulties when determining % frequencies for the main categories applicable to human beings in non-physical and non- metaphorical terms.

In the Hebrew text lev/levav had physical, metaphorical and anthropomorphic references, though relatively there were not many of these types.  The same is true of kardia in the New Testament.  In the latter there appear to be 3 references that could be considered to be to some extent, physical in nature – the heart, rather than the mouth into which material comes, the heart into which matter does not come from without (in a similar context to the previous) and the heart which is established with grace rather than meats. The first and last of these are also categorized elsewhere. There is 1 reference of a metaphorical nature – the son of man being in the heart of the earth and 1 reference of an anthropomorphic nature – a quote from the O.T. where reference is made to David being a man according to God’s heart.

April 21, 2010

“The Heart” in the New Testament (part I)

Filed under: kardia,The Heart — barrynewman @ 10:51 pm

“The Heart” in the New Testament

As suggested in an earlier blog, an examination of the New Testament of the concept associated with the Hebrew lev/levav the Masoretic text of the Old Testament necessitates first looking at the Greek word kardia.  The connection between the English word “heart” and the Greek word kardia is well known and explanations as to the use of kardia in the New Testament are available in such as the work by Behm[1].  However, the aim of this blog series is not only to carry out an independent investigation of the usage of kardia in the New Testament but among other things to relate its usage to the type of taxonomy already created for the usage of lev/levav in the Old Testament and referred to in an earlier series. It does this by examining all occurrences of kardia and its cognates in the New Testament, estimated to be 161[2], and categorising them according to the taxonomy already created for lev/levav where possible.  A comparison is then made between the lexical semantic fields of lev/levav and kardia as gauged by the taxonomies and frequency of occurrences within the taxonomies.  The paper is also concerned to see what other Greek words might in some instances perform a similar role to kardia.  Sometimes, when considered not misleading, instead of referring to lev/levav or kardia, the English word “heart” is used.

Kardia in the New Testament and kardia in the Septuagint

Firstly however, given that kardia is used in the Septuagint as a substantial equivalent to lev/levav in the Masoretic text, a simple test of the relatedness of lev/levav of the Old Testament to kardia of the New Testament would be to compare quotes of the Old Testament in the New Testament with their antecedents in the Septuagint to see to what extent kardia is used in both.

There are 10 distinct quotations from the Old Testament in the New Testament involving the Greek word kardia in the New Testament and which correspond to lev/levav in the Masoretic text.   Several are referred to more than once in the New Testament there being a total of 20 instances where such a quotation occurs.  In the Greek Septuagint 8 of the 10 texts to which reference is made in the New Testament utilize kardia.  With respect to the two exceptions, In Deuteronomy 6:5, a quotation from this text occurring 3 times in the New Testament, the Septuagint uses dianoia instead of kardia and in Jeremiah 31: 33 (Jeremiah 38:33 in the Septuagint), a quotation occurring once in the New Testament, the Septuagint refers to putting laws into the dianoia instead of kardia but more on this particular text later.  In summary, kardia in the Greek Septuagint corresponding to lev/levav in the Masoretic text, in the majority of quotations corresponds to kardia in the New Testament.


[1] Behm, J., Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (ed. Kittel, G., trans. Bromiley, G.W.), Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI, III, 1965, pp. 605-614.

[2] This figure includes 2 usages of kardia as the word kardiognostes and 2 usages as the word sklerokardia.

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