Barry Newman's Blog

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.

August 29, 2010

The Essence of Spirit (part VI)

Filed under: Spirit — barrynewman @ 11:07 pm

The Ruach of Mankind

Table 7 indicates the minor and sub-categories for the Ruach of Mankind.  There were 156 instances with an additional 24 category items due to multiple classifications.

Minor Category Sub-category Total Sub -category Total Minor Category % based on 180 % based on 156
The Breath of Mankind     22 12 14
  In association with Life 16      
  Breath 6      
Mankind as Being     23 13 15
  An independent spirit 6      
  In association with life 7      
  In association with vitality 8      
  As the being or inner self 4      
Mental mankind     19 11 12
  Perspective, attitude or inclination 4      
  Thoughts, thinking or way of thinking 12      
  Wisdom, understanding or knowledge 4      
Mankind and their abilities     22 12 14
  Power 2      
  Strength of purpose 20      
Moral mankind     41 23 26
  Upright 10      
  Humble 8      
  Haughtiness or self confidence 4      
  Hardness 2      
  Being evil or unfaithful, or erring 13      
  Being false 4      
Emotional mankind     53 29 34
  Temperament 3      
  Annoyance or disturbance 4      
  Jealousy 3      
  Depressed, distressed or fearful 24      
  Animosity 3      
  Anger 7      
  Frustration or vexation 10      

Table 7 – The Categorisation of the Ruach of Mankind

Category multiplications for the minor categories occurred in thirteen different combinations, the most common incorporating categories Being evil or unfaithful, or erring and Depressed, distressed or fearful – six instances being involved.  All other combinations involved four or fewer instances.  A total of four category multiplications occurred within the sub-categories of the minor categories, Mankind as Being, Mental Mankind, and Emotional Mankind.

August 27, 2010

The Essence of Spirit (part V)

Filed under: Spirit — barrynewman @ 11:17 pm

The Ruach of Creatures – neither Mankind nor Animals

Table 3 indicates the minor categories for the major category – The Ruach of Creatures – neither Mankind nor Animals.  There were 19 instances.

Minor Category Total % based on 19
The Ruach of the gods 5 26
Spirits 6 32
Cherubim 3 16
Idols 5 26

Table 3 – The Categorisation of the Ruach of Creatures – neither Mankind nor Animals

The Ruach of the Natural Physical World

Table 4 indicates the minor categories for the major category – the Ruach of the Natural Physical World.  There were 123 instances with an additional four category items due to multiple classifications.

Minor Category Total % based on 127 % based on 123
Wind 116 91 94
Emptiness (like wind) 7 6 6
“Air” 4 3 3

 Table 4 – The Categorization of the Ruach of the Natural Physical World

The Ruach of the Abstract

Table 5 indicates the minor categories for the major category – the Ruach of the Abstract.  There were 14 instances.

Minor Category Total % based on 14
“Experience” 7 50
Side, face or length 7 50

Table 5 – The Categorisation of the Ruach of the Abstract

The Ruach of Animals

Table 6 indicates the minor categories for the major category – The Ruach of Animals.  There were 6 instances.

Minor Category Total % based on 6
Breath or Life 5 83
Spirit 1 17

Table 6 – The Categorisation of the Ruach of Animals

August 26, 2010

The Essence of Spirit (part IV)

Filed under: Spirit — barrynewman @ 9:18 pm

The Ruach of God

Table 2 indicates minor, sub- and mini-categories for the major category, the Ruach (R) of God.  [The mini-categories appear within square brackets with totals immediately following.]  For the minor categories, there were 104 instances with an additional 25 category items due to multiple classifications.

Minor Category Sub-category and [Mini-category] Total  Sub-  category Total Minor Category % Minor Category based on 129 % Minor Category based on 104
The wind or breath of God     31 24 30
  The wind of God 18      
  The breath of God 13      
The R of God at work     82 64 79
  The R or wind of God conveying to a place 11      
  The R of God conveying life 7      
  The R of God coming upon, filling, dwelling with or being removed 53      
  [Coming upon, being given or being received – 32]        
  [Being filled with or being full of – 3]        
  [Dwelling, resting, remaining on or taking possession of – 16]        
  [Being removed – 2]        
  The R of God conveying wisdom, knowledge, perception or understanding 17      
  The R of God conveying leadership 9      
  The R of God for prophecy 29      
  The R of God conveying power 9      
The R of God – his Being and Character     16 12 15
  His being 1      
  His mind 2      
  His holiness 7      
  His goodness 2      
  His anger 5      

 Table 2 – The Categorisation of the Ruach of God

Category multiplication of instances occurring among the minor categories were in ten different combinations the most common incorporating the wind of God and the R or wind of God conveying to a place – nine instances being involved.  All other category multiplications involved four or fewer instances.  There were 53 additional category multiplications among the sub-categories for the Ruach of God at Work and these occurred in 17 different combinations.  The most common involved the Ruach of God dwelling, resting, remaining on or taking possession of, and the Ruach of God for prophecy – 14 instances being involved, and the Ruach of God coming upon, being given or being received, and the Ruach of God conveying power – six instances involved.  There was an additional category multiplication involving two of the sub-categories for the Ruach of God – his Being and Character.

August 24, 2010

The Essence of Spirit (part III)

Filed under: Spirit — barrynewman @ 10:55 pm

The Categorisation of Ruach in the Old Testament

There are 385 instances of ruach in the Old Testament.  In categorisation, 92 instances were duplicated, 22 instances were triplicated and four instances were quadrupled giving 533 category items.  There were 37 instances duplicated within the major categories providing 422 category items for this group.  It was hoped that the extent of multiplication would be minimal but unlike the categorisation of leb/lebab, kardia, nephesh and psuche, the semantic domain for ruach is quite diffuse from the point of view of the modern English thinker and single category items were often not appropriate given the category system that developed.  An additional contributing problem was simply one of understanding the sense of the text.

Table 1 indicates the major categories for ruach within which the minor, sub- and mini-categories were developed, as indicated later in Tables 3 to 7.

Major Category  Total % based on 422 % based on 385
The Ruach of God 104 25 27
The Ruach of Creatures – neither Mankind nor Animals 19 5 5
The Ruach of the Natural Physical World 123 29 32
The Ruach of the Abstract 14 3 4
The Ruach of Animals 6 1 2
The Ruach of Mankind 156 37 41

Table 1 – The Categorisation of Ruach

Category multiplication of instances involved eight different combinations, the most common incorporating the categories the Ruach of God and the Ruach of the Natural Physical World – 18 instances being involved.  All other combinations involved four or fewer instances.

August 22, 2010

The Essence of Spirit (part II)

Filed under: Spirit — barrynewman @ 10:31 pm

Methodology

While such studies already exist, this work is a fresh and independent approach. It focuses on the usages in the Old and New Testaments alone without any reference to usages elsewhere or related languages.  All instances of ruach occurring in the Massoretic text of the Old Testament were examined and categorised according to sense and/or context.  The Old Testament Greek Septuagint was then examined to find out what Greek word or words became the replacement(s) for ruach. The word pneuma was the main word used as a replacement for ruach.  As a check that pneuma in the Greek New Testament was the most suitable word to analyse in that Testament, all quotes occurring in the New Testament of Old Testament texts where pneuma occurred in the New Testament text were examined.  Pneuma appeared to occupy a similar domain to ruach.  All instances of pneuma occurring in the Greek New Testament were then categorised tentatively using the same categorisation scheme that applied to ruach.  The categorisation scheme used for ruach was found to be suitable for pneuma, for the most part.  The development of the categorisation scheme for ruach involved several revisions with almost all instances of ruach being examined three or four times.  All instances of pneuma were also examined three or four times.  The extent to which various categories were occupied was calculated on a percentage basis.

All instances of neshemah as it occurs in the Massoretic text and all instances of the Greek words of interest, other than pneuma, as they occur in the New Testament, were examined simply for their meaning and context.

Of course, all category systems are arbitrary being the result of one’s idiosyncratic mental functioning.  In addition, it should be noted that such categorisation schemes, originating from a modern western mind, are not likely to reflect closely the conceptual constructs held by the original writers.

August 20, 2010

The Essence of Spirit (part I)

Filed under: Spirit — barrynewman @ 4:38 am

I have been torn between starting a new blog series either on the question of Genesis, origins and science or on an analysis of the Hebrew and Greek words associated with the concept “spirit”.   Earlier blog series dealt with the notions, “heart” and soul”.  A blog series on “spirit” would be the third of the triad: “heart, soul and spirit”.  I made a commitment some time ago to complete the triad so I probably should choose a series on “spirit” now and leave “Genesis, origins and science” or similar till later in the year.  Here goes:

The Essence of Spirit

 Introduction

 In previous blog series, an examination was made of the Old Testament Hebrew words leb/lebab and nephesh and the New Testament words kardia and psuche.  It was evident that the semantic domains of leb/lebab and kardia on the one hand and nephesh and psuche on the other overlapped.  One of the semantic elements of the domain associated with nephesh and psuche was that associated with “breath”.  A casual appraisal of the usages of the Hebrew word ruach of the Old Testament and the Greek word pneuma of the New Testament suggests that one of the elements of their semantic domain is also associated with “breath”.  For this reason and similar reasons associated with other semantic elements common to two or more of the domains of the three Hebrew words, it is considered of interest to carry out a study of ruach and pneuma similar to that conducted for leb/lebab, kardia, nephesh and psuche.  Additionally, it is thought it could be valuable to give some consideration to the Hebrew word neshemah since it also relates to “breath” though its use is relatively infrequent.  Similarly, it is considered worthwhile to examine certain Greek words, though occurring relatively infrequently, related to pneuma or to the notion of “wind” or “breath”.

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