Barry Newman's Blog

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.

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