Barry Newman's Blog

March 23, 2011

Science and Genesis 2: 4 – 3: 24 (part XVI)

Filed under: Genesis,Spirit — barrynewman @ 3:57 am

Genesis 2: 15 – 17 – the man in the garden, the trees and the commandment of God

“The Lord God (Yahweh Elohim) took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.  And the Lord God (Yahweh Elohim) commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” (NIV)

There is no need to think that writer/editor of the first half of chapter 2 of Genesis is confused, careless or unwilling to correct an anomaly when in v. 8 he refers to God placing the man in a garden and then states again that God placed the man in a garden in v . 15.  As McCabe (2006) argues, the writer simply returns to the matter he raised earlier, the “and” (Hebrew: waw) with which v. 15 begins being appropriately translated as “and”, rather than “then” (as in The New American Standard Bible), the “waw” being classified as a “resumptive waw”.  The text then reads, “And the Lord God …”.  In fact, it could be argued that having stated earlier that the Lord God placed the man in the garden, in v. 15 the writer is conveying for what purpose God had placed him there. 

But why insert vv. 9-14 – a description of rivers which seems to interrupt the flow of the account?  If the understanding of the relationship between the river, the garden and the four rivers, as favoured above, is correct (or even if the more traditional view is held to be correct) then it is understandable that before the writer tells of man’s role in the garden he decides to focus on just how special this garden is – the existence of the extraordinary trees and the blessed agricultural state of the garden (or in accordance with the traditional view, the prospective blessing of the garden for the world)..

September 16, 2010

The Essence of Spirit (Full Series PDF)

Filed under: psuche,ruach,Spirit — barrynewman @ 9:44 pm

Here is the full series

September 15, 2010

The Essence of Spirit (XIV)

Filed under: Spirit — barrynewman @ 10:50 am

Pneumatikos, pneumatikōs, anemos, pneō and pnoe

The adjective pneumatikos occurs 25 times in the New Testament, 14 of these being found in 1 Corinthians.  On 13 occasions, it is used as a noun with the reference being to “matter”, “things” or “person(s) or something similar.  Other usages relate to “gift”, “law”, “meat”, “drink”, “rock”, “body”, “blessing”, “songs”, “wisdom and understanding”, “house” and “sacrifices”.  The adverb pneumatikōs occurs only twice.  In almost all situations, the notion being referred to, by either adjective or adverb, seemed to be “spiritual” as opposed to “physical”.  Often the contrast was quite stark, as in e.g. “spiritual gift”, “spiritual meat”, spiritual drink”, “spiritual rock”, “spiritual house” and “spiritual sacrifices”.  The underlying sense seems to be that of a non-material, and to some extent, non-tangible functional reality.

The noun anemos occurs 29 times in the New Testament and always refers to a wind or winds, with one occurrence being metaphorical in nature.  The verb pneō occurs 7 times and always refers to the blowing of a wind or winds.  The noun pnoe occurs only twice.  In one instance (Acts 17: 25) it refers to breath and this may also be the case with the other instance though that reference (Acts 2: 2) is commonly translated “wind”. With this last reference in mind, it is perhaps not surprising that pneuma is more commonly used for breath in the New Testament than pnoe.

September 12, 2010

The Essence of Spirit (XIII)

Filed under: Spirit — barrynewman @ 9:09 am

General Discussion

All the major categories for ruach, except that of the ruach of animals – a relatively insignificant category, are reflected in those for pneuma.  However, the category pneuma of the natural physical world was almost empty due in part to the Greek word anemos being available for the concept “wind”.  The other main difference was the reversal of emphasis placed upon God and mankind.  In the case of ruach, its association with mankind is far greater than its association with God.  The reverse is true with respect to pneuma.

As with ruach, the most dominant minor category was that of the Pneuma of God at Work with the most significant of the sub-categories being that of the Pneuma of God coming upon, being filled, dwelling or being baptized with.  Another significant sub-category was that of Situational with, benefit given by, consequential upon or conveyed by the Pneuma of God, with less significant sub-categories being the Pneuma of God for prophecy or proclamation and the Pneuma of God conveying wisdom, knowledge, perception or understanding.  Pneuma, much more than ruach is associated with the being and character of God, the most common attribute being his holiness.

References to the pneuma of creatures were more frequent than those to the ruach of creatures, mainly due to the significant sub-category of evil spirits.  The low population categories, the pneuma of the abstract and the ruach of the abstract were similar only in their being a reference to ‘experience’ in each.

The pneuma of mankind was mainly characterised by its sub-category – Mankind as being, with the sub-categories Mental Mankind and Moral Mankind contributing to a lesser extent.  Pneuma is associated with Emotional Mankind to a greater extent than ruach is.  It is only with respect to mankind that pneuma has the sense of breath.  Even then, the usage is relatively uncommon.

In spite of these differences, and recognizing that there are alternative Greek words for “wind” and “breath”, pneuma is similar to ruach in terms of its fundamental character being that of the non-material, non-tangible, functional reality.  As with ruach, pneuma has a semantic domain that overlaps with those for kardia and psuche but its main focus is different.

September 10, 2010

The Essence of Spirit (XII)

Filed under: Spirit — barrynewman @ 9:24 pm

The Pneuma of Mankind

Table 13 indicates minor, sub- and mini-categories for the major category, the Pneuma of Mankind.  [Mini-categories appear within square brackets, with totals immediately following.]  There were 72 instances to which were added another 17 category items due to multiple classifications.

Minor Category Sub-category Total Sub- category Total Minor Category % based on 89 % based on 72
The breath of Mankind     4 4 6
  In association with life 1      
  Breath 3      
Mankind as Being     39 44 54
  An independent entity 17      
  [metaphorical - 3]        
  [actual - 14]        
  In association with life 8      
  In association with vitality 2      
  As the being or inner self 18      
  In a trance 4      
Mental Mankind     23 26 32
  Perspective, attitude or inclination 11      
  Thoughts, thinking or way of thinking 2      
  Wisdom, understanding or knowledge 2      
  Speaking mankind 9      
Mankind and his Abilities     5 6 7
  Power 2      
  Strength of purpose 3      
Moral Mankind     13 15 18
Emotional Mankind     5 6 7

Table 13 – The Pneuma of Mankind

Multiple classifications that occurred for the minor categories were in 11 different combinations none involving more than 3 instances.  Ten instances of multiple classification occurred among the sub-category Mankind as Being, six different combinations being involved.  There was one instance of multiple categorisation within the sub-category Mental Mankind.

September 8, 2010

The Essence of Spirit (part XI)

Filed under: Spirit — barrynewman @ 11:39 pm

The Pneuma of Creatures – neither Mankind nor Animals

Table 11 indicates the minor and sub-categories for the major category, the Pneuma of Creatures – neither Mankind nor Animals.

Minor Category Sub-category Total Sub-category Total Minor Category % based on 58
Spirits     58 100
  Evil 42    
  Angelic 7    
  Other 9    

Table 11 – The Categorisation of the Pneuma of Creatures – neither Mankind nor Animals

The Pneuma of the Natural Physical World

There were only two instances, the sense being “wind”.

The Pneuma of the Abstract

 Table 12 indicates the minor categories for the major category, the Pneuma of the Abstract.

Minor Category

Total % based on 19
“Experience” 4 21
“A perspective” 9 47
Other 6

32

 Table 12 – The Categorization of the Pneuma of the Abstract

September 6, 2010

The Essence of Spirit (part X)

Filed under: Spirit — barrynewman @ 11:41 pm

The Pneuma of God

Table 10 indicates minor, sub- and mini-categories for the major category, the Pneuma (P) of God.  [Mini-categories appear within square brackets, with totals immediately following.]  There were 230 instances with an additional 96 category items due to multiple classifications.

Minor Category Sub-category Total Sub- category Total Minor Category % Minor Category based on 326 % Minor Category based on 230
The breath of God     2 1 1
The P of God at work     205 63 89
  The P of God who leads explicitly 12      
  The P of God conveying life 16      
  The P of God coming upon, being filled, dwelling or being baptized with 76      
  [Coming upon, being given, or being received - 42]        
  [Being filled with or being full of - 15]        
  [Dwelling, resting, remaining or taking possession of - 12]        
  [Being baptized with - 7]        
  The P of God conveying wisdom, knowledge,  perception or understanding 25      
  The P from God conveying justice or righteousness 2      
  The P of God for prophecy or proclamation 31      
  The P of God conveying power 21      
  Situational with, benefit given by, consequential upon or conveyed by the P of God 62      
  [situational - 26]        
  [beneficial - 20]        
  [consequential - 14]        
  [conveying responsibility - 2]        
The P of God – his being and character     108 33 47
  His being 9      
  His mind 2      
  His holiness 95      
  [explicit - 92]        
  [implicit - 3]        
  His truth 4      
Action taken against the P of God     11 3 5

Table 10 – The Categorisation of the Pneuma of God

Category multiplications that occurred for the minor, sub- and mini-categories were in 26 different combinations the most common involving the Pneuma of God coming upon, being given or being received and the explicit Holiness of God – 16 instances and the Pneuma of God for prophecy or proclamation and the explicit Holiness of God – 9 instances.  All other combinations involved 7 or fewer instances. All 92 instances of the explicit holiness of God were either duplicated or triplicated elsewhere.  This was the single most common reason for the multiple classifications for pneuma in all its senses or contexts.  There were 40 instances of multiple categorisation within the Pneuma of God at work and two within the Pneuma of God – his being and character.  Concerning the Pneuma of God at work, 23 different combinations were involved, the most common involving Being filled with or being full of the Pneuma of God and the Pneuma of God for prophecy or proclamation – 5 instances and Being baptized with the Pneuma of God and the Pneuma of God conveying power – 6 instances.

September 5, 2010

The Essence of Spirit (part IX)

Filed under: Spirit — barrynewman @ 2:43 am

The Categorisation of Pneuma in the New Testament

There are 372 instances of pneuma in the New Testament.  In categorising 106 instances were duplicated, 32 were triplicated and two were quadrupled giving 548 category items.  As with ruach, it was hoped that such multiple classifications would be few.  However, the diffuseness of the use of pneuma, given the categorization scheme, made that difficult.  A further problem was always the difficulty in understanding particular texts.  For the major categories, there were only ten category multiplications.

Table 9 indicates the major categories in which the minor and sub-categories were developed.  Unlike the situation with ruach, there were no instances of pneuma involving animals.

Major Category Total % based on 382 % based on 372
The Pneuma of God 230 60 62
The Pneuma of creatures – neither Mankind nor Animals 59 15 16
The Pneuma of the Natural Physical World 2 1 1
The Pneuma of the Abstract 19 5 5
The Pneuma of Mankind 72 19 19

Table 9 – The Categorisation of Pneuma

Category multiplications occurred among the major categories in 4 different combinations, the main one involving the Pneuma of God and the Pneuma of the abstract – 6 instances.

September 3, 2010

The Essence of Spirit (part VIII)

Filed under: Spirit — barrynewman @ 5:03 am

Neshemah

The word neshemah occurs 24 times in the Old Testament.  Its most common meaning is that of “breath”.  There seems to be five references to the breath of God and thirteen to the breath of man, most of which are in association with life.  On two occasions, the neshemah of God might refer to his breath or the wind that comes from him, both in the context of judgment.  On two occasions the neshemah of man might refer to his breath or his spirit, each text referring to speech.  On one occasion the neshemah of God could refer to his spirit and on one occasion the neshemah of man might refer to a man’s spirit.  The semantic field clearly overlaps with that of ruach.  In five instances, ruach and nephesh appear in close association.

Ruach and the Greek Septuagint

To assist in determining what word or words in the Greek New Testament might have a similar function to ruach in the Old, the Greek Septuagint (LXX) version of the Old Testament was examined.  The task was to see what Greek word or words commonly replaced ruach where it occurred in the Massoretic text.  Table 8 outlines the findings. The % figures were based on totals of 385 and 381 – the latter % being in parentheses and relating to only those instances were the material of the Hebrew text was present in the Greek text.

Matter in the Greek text in the place of ruach in the Hebrew text Number of occurrences % of all instances present in the Hebrew (% of all instances present in the Greek)
Textual material absent from the Greek text 4 1 (not applicable)
pneuma 269 70 (71)
No Greek word but the meaning similar 9 2 (2)
anemos and the meaning similar 44 11 (12)
pnoe and the meaning similar 5 1 (1)
psuche or related words and the meaning similar 5 1 (1)
Other Greek words and the meaning similar 21 5 (6)
The texts contain different understandings 28 7 (7)

Table 8 – The Replacement for Ruach in the LXX

The most common Greek word replacing the Hebrew word “ruach” is the word “pneuma”.  The Greek language, having separate words for wind and breath, namely anemos and pnoe, respectively, often used these instead of pneuma.  All other Greek words, with a similar meaning being conveyed to that of the Massoretic text, were used twice or less.  There was one instance where kardia was used as a replacement.  Whereas for leb/lebab and nephesh the LXX contained different understandings to that of the Massoretic text in 1% and 2 % of instances, respectively, the same situation occurred in 6% of the instances in the case of ruach. This may mean that for a Greek translator of antiquity, the word ruach was relatively more diffuse in use than either of the other two Hebrew words.  Regardless, the overwhelming evidence suggests that pneuma is the appropriate word approaching equivalence to ruach, which needs to be examined in the New Testament, with the recognition that in the New Testament, anemos and pnoe might be the alternative words for wind and breath respectively.

As an additional check, an examination was made of all direct quotes in the New Testament of Old Testament texts where pneuma appeared in the New Testament.  There were six instances in all and in each case ruach was the equivalent in the Massoretic text and pneuma was the equivalent in the LXX.

August 31, 2010

The Essence of Spirit (part VII)

Filed under: Spirit — barrynewman @ 11:52 pm

General Discussion

As already indicated, to the modern western mind, the semantic domain for Ruach of the Old Testament appears diffuse and extensive.  The three main elements are the ruach of God, the Ruach of the natural physical world and the Ruach of mankind. 

Within the major category, the Ruach of God, the dominant minor category is “God at work” while at the sub-category level, the Ruach of God coming upon, filling or dwelling is the most dominant.  The other significant sub-categories are the Ruach of God for prophecy, the wind of God and the Ruach of God conveying wisdom, knowledge, perception, or understanding.

Within the Ruach of the natural world, the most dominant minor category is the Wind – the most dominant minor category of all minor categories and only exceeded by its own major category, and the major category, the Ruach of mankind.

With respect to mankind, a significant element is that which relates to the vibrant aspect of life – life itself, one’s strength of purpose, and one’s emotional state, particularly being distressed, depressed, or fearful.  Another significant element is that of the moral dimension of humankind. 

The semantic linkages are hypothesized as follows:  Wind, breath and “air” are non-material, non-tangible functional realities. Wind is often spoken of as the wind of God.  It comes from him.  He is the ultimate reality but is Spirit – non-material and non-tangible, yet the one who is at work.  One aspect of his non-material and non-tangible nature is his own being, mind and character.  Mankind, made in his image is also a spiritual being.  His non-material non-tangible and functional aspects are evident in his being, his mental functioning, his external functioning, his morality and emotional states.  Breath is sometimes associated not only with God and with mankind but animals as well.  Other entities also belong to this non-material non-tangible spiritual world.  Some only exist in one’s thinking.  Abstract entities such as the measure of a side, face, or length of a building and the experiential also partake of a non-material non-tangible characteristic.  The hub of these various linkages is non-material, non-tangible yet functional and often active reality.

One of the overlaps between the semantic domains of leb/lebab and nephesh as they applied to mankind was in terms of mental states and functioning.  Each is concerned with emotional states, knowing and mental attributes.  However the focus of leb/lebab is on mental states, including emotions and functions while that of nephesh is on the being, the self, the physical person who has these and other attributes.  As argued above, ruach while having an extensive semantic field has as a binding centre the non-material and non-tangible aspects of the person, though these include mental states and functions.

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