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Sunday, June 01, 2008

My soul

For those of you who do not find a discussion of kephale uplifting here is something else. I do feel that kepahle is vitally important and that we should seek common ground, a common understanding of the vocabulary of scripture. I continue to welcome complementarians and egalitarians to comment and I am quite happy to not know which one you are or whether you have never heard of either.

Here is TC on nephesh,

The HCSB has decided to translate the Hebrew nephesh in many places as "life" or something similar but not as "soul." It is correct that the Hebrew nephesh can be rendered various ways: "soul, self, life, creature, person, appetite, mind, living being, desire, emotion, and passion."

Here's the HCSB against the TNIV in the Psalms (the HSCB being the first line and the TNIV the second):
He renews my life(23:3)
He refreshes my soul

So I long for You, God (42:1)
So my soul pants for you, my God

I am at rest in God alone (62:1)
Truly my soul finds rest in God.
Thanks TC. This refreshed my soul. I agree that technically nephesh means "life" or "self" but "soul" fits very well in these instances.


At Mon Jun 02, 07:37:00 AM, Blogger Nathan said...

Yes. But in many cases (at least in the Psalms), we shouldn't lose the physical sense of nephesh.

At Mon Jun 02, 07:40:00 AM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...


You blog is one of my favourites. Thanks so much, I had forgotten this post of yours. I hope others will follow your link.

At Mon Jun 02, 07:41:00 AM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

PS I'll update my post tonight.

At Mon Jun 02, 12:22:00 PM, Blogger tc robinson said...

Thanks for the link Suzanne.

Nathan and Sue, I find it interesting that the LXX uses η ψυχη μου instead of ο τραχηλος

At Mon Jun 02, 01:20:00 PM, Blogger Nathan said...

That IS interesting! I'd like to know more about the level of physicality in the use of psyche and psychikon, both in the LXX and NT. In 1 Cor 15:44, for instance, psychikon is rendered--disastrously, I think--as "physical" in the NRSV (usually my default version), though lexicons suggest "psyche" can be as versatile as "pneuma" is (if not more so). (Fee, Wright, Thiselton, and most other commentators reject an overly dualistic reading of this term, and this passage.)

And I don't know how much to read into this, but I love that nephesh, neshamah, pneuma, and psyche can all connote 'breath' -- and a breath is a physical, embodied act. (In English, 'spiritual' and 'respiration' are the closest we get to this trick.) This keeps me from getting too spiritual with the word 'spiritual'...

I see you're reading Wright's latest -- hope you like it; I was cheering along with it as I read. Very pertinent to the latent Platonism lurking in the Western readings of the words for soul and spirit.

At Mon Jun 02, 01:28:00 PM, Blogger Nathan said...

(though see this take on a Paul as Platonist)

At Mon Jun 02, 01:31:00 PM, Blogger Nathan said...

(Peterson is, characteristically, great on the physicality of 'nephesh'.) (OK, I'll stop with the footnotes.)

At Mon Jun 02, 09:21:00 PM, Blogger tc robinson said...

Nathan, I believe 1 Cor 2:14 is helpful on ψυχικόν in 15:44. In both instances it's in contrast to πνευματικόν/πνεύματος.

I take ψυχικόν as referring to this earthly realm against πνευματικόν/πνεύματος of the heavenly realm/spiritual.

I find Wright to be quite provocative. He really makes me think, though we differ on many issues. I find his rereading of heaven to be interesting.

At Tue Jun 03, 07:50:00 AM, Blogger J. K. Gayle said...

With respect to the Greek words, I think the LXX translators did have access to Aristotle's respective treatises:

Περὶ Ψυχῆς (Perì Psūchês, in translation aka "On the Soul," and "De Animina")


Περὶ Πνεύμονα (Perì Pneūmona, in translation aka "On Breath," and "De Spiritu")

From the LXX translation choices (choices which influence NT writers too), I think there's a good bit of resistance to Aristotle. And yet he sets the terms for beginning talk in technical ways about such words.


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