Tag Archives: Πνεύμα

Psyche and Pneuma

An old but most reliable source for today’s blog is Ernes De Witt Burton’s book, Spirit, Soul, and Flesh (1918). Burton writes that ψυχή (psyche) connotes life-force and soul; Πνεύμα (pneuma) which premiered much later in Greek literature during the 5th and 6th centuries B.C. Hence, ψυχή is the most ancient connotation, and does indeed signify the Animating Life, or Mind source. Hence, soul is the function of that primordial animating principle and lifeforce, once embodied, feels the ignominious effects of affectual beingness, such as in Homeric formulations. Πνεύμα came into circulation much later and denotes “the most intangible of substances wind, breath, air.” Pneumatic originations occurred in Greek literature and also became the dominant ideation in later scriptural reference such as breath, or a gentle breeze such as the beginning of creation when God’s spirit breathed on the waters; also articulated in Job 12.10, “In whose hand is the life of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.” In this sense, a third term is necessary: να αναπνεύσει to breathe. read more

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