Barry Newman's Blog

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


 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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