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Francis Garden - 1878 - Table of contents

Diccionario filosófico
Complete edition

Diccionario de Filosofía
Brief definition of the most important concepts of philosophy.


A Dictionary of English Philosophical Terms Francis Garden

Vocabulary of Philosophy, Psychological, Ethical, Metaphysical
William Fleming

Biografías y semblanzas Biographical references and lives of philosophers

Brief introduction to the thought of Ortega y Gasset

History of Philosophy Summaries

Historia de la Filosofía
Explanation of the thought of the great philosophers; summaries, exercises...

Historia de la Filosofía
Digital edition of the History of Philosophy by Jaime Balmes

Historia de la Filosofía
Digital edition of the History of Philosophy by Zeferino González

Vidas, opiniones y sentencias de los filósofos más ilustres
Complete digital edition of the work of Diogenes Laertius

Compendio de las vidas de los filósofos antiguos

A brief history of Greek Philosophy
B. C. Burt


A Short History of Philosophy





Spirit. This word, like its Greek correspondent πνεῡμα, is derived from the notion of breeze or breathing. It serves generally to denote immaterial substance, and a spirit means an unembodied or a disembodied being. In its highest application it denotes the Third Person of the blessed Trinity. When it refers to ourselves it may be thought merely synonymous with soul or mind, and so it often is. But there is a philosophy, and that a sacred one, which distinguishes between these.


In the New Testament the human being is regarded as threefold, consisting of body, soul, and spirit (1 Thess. v. 23); and the distinction between the two latter of these, soul and spirit, is found in 1 Cor. II. 14; XV. 44, 45, and in Heb. IV. 12. This trichotomy pervades the philosophy of the time» and something equivalent to it must be acknowledged by any which takes a large view of human nature.

The distinction between ψυχή and πνεῡμα, soul and spirit, in a great degree corresponds to that of the Greeks between διάνοια and νοῡς, that of the Latins between anima and animus, and in our later schools to that between understanding and reason, though in the New Testament it is connected with considerations beyond what would necessarily be brought out by these.

The adjective ψυκικὸς(1) is rendered in our version by natural—"the natural man" "a natural body"; in the Vulgate more felicitously by animal—"the animal man," "an animal body." (2) "This is exactly what Wiclif meant when he translated the 'corpus animale' which he found in his Vulgate, 'a beastly body.' The word (beastly) had then no ethical colouring." (3)

The recognition of this distinction between soul and spirit, whatever terms for the two we may employ, is essential, as I have said, to any large or just survey of human nature. From its frequent occurrence in the New Testament, such recognition is of necessity to the right understanding of that, both as regards its view of our present condition, in such places as 1 Cor. II. and many others, and of our prospects in the future in 1 Cor. XV. 44, 45. The spirit which is in us now, ennobling our being, and giving us rank higher than that of merely first among animals, must not be confounded with the illuminating and sanctifying influences of the Holy Spirit though it makes us susceptible of these. The spiritual body in which we are to be raised is to differ from our present psychical one in this, that whereas the latter is animated by the lower faculty the psyche or soul and is the organ of that; the former is to be animated by the πνεῡμα or spirit, and to serve for the organ of that, a sublime expectation, the object of which we can only contemplate darkly and fitfully at present, and with mingled wonder and awe.


(1) 1 Cor. II. 14 ; XV. 44, 45.

(2) In St. Jude it is translated sensual.

(3) TRENCH, Select Glossary, p. 20.



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