5. Lenny Levin: My educated guess is -- a lot. But I would be interested to do a search on Perseus to see of pneu and logos ever turn up together with "writing" (I forget what it is in Greek) in Plato. Lee Price: Et tu Lenny. I gather(though am undoubtedly too under the gun to examine it out) that "pneu" has a unique derivation arising from its relationship with " images," and the relative brilliance of (pneu-borne) conversation over composing. Old English Fneosan, to sneeze. Find out more about her at her website. I'll try to do this next Thurs when things have eased a bit... Shabbat shalom! Seeing With Both Eyes: Ephraim Luntshitz and the Polish Jewish Renaissance, Brill Academic Publishers (2008), Why God is Subject to Murphy’s Law: Dialogues on God and Judiasm, Booksurge Publishing (2007), Abraham J. Heschel, Heavenly Torah, translated and edited by Gordon Tucker with Leonard Levin, Continuum Press (2005), Eliezer Schweid, The Classic Jewish Philosophers, translated by Leonard Levin, Brill Academic Publishers (2007). It can refer to the life force that animates angels, demons, and even human souls. We witness such instances in verses such as Matthew 5:3, Mark 5:8, Luke 1:47, among several others. How can both words: ruach and pneuma, refer to both a divine spirit and a non-divine one? Hi AcademicBiblical, I've been told by numerous bible footnotes that the Greek and Hebrew words for wind, breath, and spirit are identical. Therefore, just because the word ruach (or pneuma) can be attached to something evil like demons or humans with debased morals and spirits, the word itself isn’t inherently bad. More than 1,000 of her works have been featured in various publications ranging from Writer's Digest to Keys for Kids. My tires are pneumatic because they have air in them, not speech. First, I find delightful layers of irony in the fact that Plato (whose medium was writing) is making Socrates (whose medium was exclusively oral speech, for he wrote nothing) praise the virtues of the oral word over the written word (which I am guessing was the chief morsel of insight that Derrida gleaned from this passage). In the Phaedrus or the Phaedo or one of those dialogues starting with "ph" there's some myth purportedly from Egypt in which speech (logos) is held to be better than writing. Archived. If so, the force of “pneumatic” in such an argument would not mean “pneuma = logos” but “pneuma = breathing / oral” —that is to say, the oral word has a pneumatic quality that the written word lacks. Lee Price: Well, the person who told me the discussion exists is too crabby to risk emailing at the moment, but I'll see him Tuesday and ask then. All rights reserved. Derrida was a brilliant philosopher in part because he was so brilliant in arguing on behalf of outrageous ideas. I think it would be instructive to see how Plato uses "pneu." Hope Bolinger is a literary agent at C.Y.L.E. So it certainly has no Platonic connection to logos. A person cannot see air, but it is real, is it not? However, some theologians use that as an argument for calling the Holy Spirit "she". Similar to ruach, although it mostly is in reference to the Holy Spirit, it can also refer to the animating life principle that exists in humans. Lenny Levin: That can be tested. Lenny Levin: Not at all. So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’ 8. Any thoughts? Those who want to build an essential dichotomy between the two are afflicted with an "Us Versus Them" competitive mentality that finds little support in the facts. Not surprisingly, as a lookup of the word “ruah” in a Biblical concordance will reveal, there are several associations of “ruah” with orality, especially with the phenomenon of oral prophecy inspired by God’s ruah. This is a loaded question, because though the Bible presents itself to us in “written” form, it is decidedly the product of an oral culture. Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Sorry if I offend your liberal humanist sensibilities:). The word "spirit" retains its material sense in usages like "respiration", "spirits of ammonia," etc. In the New Testament, the spirit “pneuma” refers to the Holy Spirit. As I understand it, the superiority of the spoken word for Plato depends on the presence of the superior speaker (the philosopher), who, as its "father" is always there to explain it. The other occurrence is in Isaiah 11:4, speaking of the Messianic ruler: “He shall judge the poor with equity and decide with justice for the lowly of the land. Even in all of our own strength and power, we cannot command stones to live or even our own lungs to work as we please. And why should we care about the meaning of this Hebrew word? In the mean time, the source in Phaedrus 276a-b is a rich one for our purpose (even though the word "pneuma" in its various forms doesn't occur in it). So why do we see such a dichotomy? Socrates praises “the sort of discourse that goes together with knowledge, and is written in the soul (psyche) of the learner, that can defend itself, and knows to whom it should speak…” Phaedrus elaborates: “You mean no dead discourse (eidotos logon), but the living speech ([logon] zonta kai empsychon), of which the written discourse (dikaios) may fairly be called a kind of image (eidolon).” To be sure, the word “pneuma” (spirit) does not occur in this passage in any of its forms, but we have two occurrences of “psyche” in proximity to “logos.” Maybe somewhere else you will find “pneuma” and “logos” in similar proximity. The wind blows wherever it wants. What Is Catechism? The passage uses the term “logos” evenhandedly to refer to the word in both its oral and written form. This is a delightful piece of insight but hardly justifies equating the meaning of “pneuma” with “logos.”. * * * It lists "pneu": "To breathe...." (imitative root) Germanic: Fniu. Is there an explanation for two very different languages sharing this connection? Ruach, Pneuma, and wind/spirit. She is also the co-author of the Dear Hero duology, which was published by INtense Publications. The Greek original of the Platonic dialogues is available online. I don't think that relationship is on the Biblical or the rabbinic radar screen. The word Ruach, when applied to God, can often indicate creative divine activity. Lee Price: I think it would be instructive to see how Plato uses "pneu." Doesn't seem to jive with the idea of being book- or written-law centered. In fact, in Matthew 8:16, when Jesus casts out demons, the verse refers to the spirits inhabiting the person as pneuma. So it's not just a question of the living word being adaptable, and not at all a question of it adapting itself. Posted by u/[deleted] 7 years ago. Please direct me to a source of the current discussion! Topics of this blog will vary. Moreover, the expression "ruah adonai" or "ruah elohim" is used in the Bible in a number of contexts -- creation, prophetic inspiration, influx of supernatural strength (as with Samson) -- all of which became imported into the Greek "pneuma" with the translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek. Second, as the argument that you cite claims to contrast “pneuma” with “ruah” in this respect, the relevant question would be: does the association of “ruah” with “speech” occur anywhere in the Hebrew canon? sami. This gets right at the trouble with the written word, which anyone -- even you or I for Heaven's sake!

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