The English indigenous spirit originates from the Latin "spiritus" ("breath") and has number of interrelated meanings: Metaphysically, a soul is one incorporeal power force that is current in all living things however distinct from the soul. (The difference between soul and spirit became current in Judeo-Christian terminology.) A spirit may additionally be a ghost the retains intelligence, consciousness, and sentience.

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In Christian theology, the term spirit is provided to define God, or aspects thereof, such together the holy Spirit. (The examine of the holy Spirit in Christian theology, is called Pneumatology.) In indigenous spirituality, words "Great Spirit" is frequently used to represent the can be fried nurturing force discovered in nature: This concept of soul infusing nature is common amongst traditional peoples. In Zoroastrianism, the Amesha Spenta are seen as emanating soul of Ahura Mazda. In Christian Science, Spirit is just one of the 7 synonyms because that God.<1>


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The English indigenous "spirit" originates from the Latin "spiritus," an interpretation "breath."

The English native "spirit" comes from the Latin spiritus, an interpretation "breath." words was loaned into Middle English in the thirteenth century via the Old French word, espirit. In Christianity, a difference was made in between soul and spirit. The Greek native pneuma was translated as "spiritus" in the Latin Vulgate rather of anima (soul), which was rendered psykhē. This distinction between spirit and also soul reflect in the Greek and also Latin languages (that is, Greek psykhe vs. Pneuma; Latin anima vs. Spiritus) at some point derives from the Hebrew, which chin embodies a difference between ruach (breath/wind) and also nephesh (soul).

There room related principles to spirit in other languages such as the German, "Geist" (related to the English indigenous ghost) and also the French, "l"espirit." Sanskrit supplies the state akasha and prana (breath). Similarly, both the Scandinavian languages and also the Chinese language supplies the ax "breath" to describe the spirit. In the Bible, words "ruach" is most frequently translated as the spirit, whose significance is divine.

Historical background

The belief in soul is closely tied to the old concept of animism, i beg your pardon attributed soul to everything in nature, including human beings, animals, plants, and also rocks. It was widely believed that soul were created of a misty, airy, or ethereal material. Anthropologists speculate the this may stem from early ideas that spirits to be the person within the person, most noticeable in old cultures as a person"s breath, which top top exhaling in chillier climates shows up visibly as a white mist.<2> This belief may have also fostered the metaphorical meaning of "breath" in certain languages, such together the Latin spiritus and also the Greek pneuma. In the Bible, God is shown as animating Adam v a breath (Gen. 2:7).

Stories about spirits date ago to ancient times, and can be uncovered in plenty of different cultures. In Chinese culture, ancestor worship and divination methods date earlier to time immemorial. The Chinese philosopher, Mo Tzu (470-391 B.C.E.), is quoted as having actually said:

If from antiquity to the present, and also since the beginning of man, there are guys who have actually seen the bodies of ghosts and spirits and heard their voices, how can we say the they perform not exist? If none have heard them and also none have actually seen them, climate how have the right to we speak they do? but those that deny the existence of the soul say: "Many in the people have heard and also seen other of ghosts and spirits. Since they vary in testimony, who room to be embraced as really having heard and seen them?" Mo Tzu said: together we are to count on what many have together seen and what plenty of have jointly heard, the situation of Tu Po is to be accepted.<3>

In other old cultures, the spirit was periodically symbolically or literally shown as a bird or other animal. In numerous historical accounts, the soul of the dead (ghosts) were assumed to be trying to find vengeance, or imprisoned on earth for negative things they had done during life. Most cultures have ghost story in your mythologies. Numerous stories from the middle Ages and the Romantic era count on the macabre and the fantastic, and ghosts room a major theme in literature from those eras.

Theological uses

Pneumatology is the study of spiritual beings and also phenomena, particularly the interactions in between humans and God.Pneuma (πνευμα) is Greek for "breath," i beg your pardon metaphorically defines a non-material gift or influence. Pneumatology is characterized as: "1. Theology, the doctrine of the holy Spirit. 2. The theory of soul or spiritual beings, in the 1600s thought about a branch the metaphysics. 3. Pneumatics. 4. Useless word because that psychology."<4>

In Christian theology pneumatology refers to the research of the divine Spirit.In mainstream Christian doctrine, the divine Spirit is the 3rd person of God in the Trinity. Unitarian develops of Christianity believe that the divine Spirit is personal, back holding that it may, in some sense, influence people. In the Gospel of John, pneuma is linked to re-birth in water and spirit, which has been suggested to it is in baptism.

Popular understandings


Guardian spirits

The belief that God sends out a guardian soul to watch every separation, personal, instance was usual in old Greek philosophy, and also Plato alludes come it in Phaedo, 108. Similarly, the belief shows up in the Old Testament, although that is not specifically articulated or delineated. In the book of Daniel, specifically Daniel 10:13, angels it seems ~ to it is in assigned to details countries. In this case, the “prince the the Persian kingdom” to be referring to among the please angels also known to numerous as a demon. While, “Michael, one of the chef princes, come to assist me…” is one of the details angels mentioned in the holy bible who God uses to assist His people. Michael is actually considered to it is in an archangel. Follow to the book of Enoch, component of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church"s motivated scripture, says that the just have actually protecting angels (Enoch 100:5). In plot 12:12-15, over there is another allusion to the id that a particular angel is assigned to protect people in that verse in the response of the world staying at the house of "Mary the mommy of John, additionally called Mark…." ~ Peter had actually been escorted the end of prison by an angel, he went to Mary"s home and also the servant girl, Rhoda, recognized his voice and so she ran earlier to call the group that Peter was there. The team replied, "It must be his angel" (v.15). In Matthew 18:10, Jesus claims that kids are defended by guardian angels:

"Never despise one of these little ones; i tell you, they have their guardian angels in heaven, who look continuous on the face of my heavenly Father" (Matthew 18:10: new English Bible).

The concept of guardian soul or tutelary angels and also their pecking order was extensively emerged in Christianity in the fifth century through Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite. The theology the angels, and tutelary spirits, has actually undergone numerous refinements since the 400s, and modern-day orthodox belief in both the eastern and western church is that guardian angels protect the body and present prayers come God, protecting whichever human God assigns lock to. The roman Catholic Church calendar the saints consists of a memorial for guardian angels top top October 2.

Whether guardian angels attend each and also every person is no consistently thought or upheld in patristic Christian thought.<5> Saint Ambrose, because that example, believed that saints shed their guardian angels so that they could have a higher struggle and also persevere. Saints Jerome and also Basil the Caesarea suggested that sin drive the angels away.

The an initial Christian writer to summary a details scheme for guardian spirits was the really popular twelfth century theologian Honorius of Autun (died c. 1151). He stated that every heart was assigned a guardian angel the moment it was put into a body, although together a thought calls for the preexistence of the soul/essence Scholastic theologians augmented and also ordered the taxonomy of angelic guardians. Cutting board Aquinas agreed v Honorius and specified the it was the shortest order the angels who served as guardians, and his view was most successful in renowned thought, yet Duns Scotus claimed that any type of angel can accept the mission.

Guardian angels appear in literary functions throughout the medieval and Renaissance periods. Because that example, the Anglican English physician and also philosopher Sir thomas Browne (1605-1682), stated his belief in Religio Medici (part 1, paragraph 33).

Ghosts together spirits

A spirit or spirit of a deceased person is often dubbed a ghost, although the word ghost can likewise refer to any spirit or demon.<6> A ghost is usually characterized as the apparition of a deceased person, frequently comparable in illustration to the person, and also encountered in places she or the frequented, or in association with the person"s previous belongings.

The Hebrew Torah and the holy bible contain couple of references to ghosts, shortcut spiritism with forbidden occult tasks (Deuteronomy 18:11). The many notable referral is in the very first Book that Samuel (I Samuel 28:7-19 KJV), in which a disguised King Saul has the Witch that Endor summon the heart of Samuel. In the new Testament, Jesus needs to persuade the Apostles that he is no a ghost, adhering to the resurrection (Matthew 24). In a similar vein, Jesus" followers at very first believe that to it is in a ghost when they watch him wade on water.

One the the earliest recognized ghost "sightings" in the west took ar in Athens, Greece. Pliny the Younger (c. 63-113 C.E.) explained it in a letter come Licinius Sura: Athenodoros Cananites (c. 74 B.C.E.–7 C.E.), a Stoic philosopher, determined to rent a large, Athenian house, to investigate extensive rumors that it to be haunted. Athenodoros staked the end at the residence that night, and, sure enough, a disheveled, aged specter, bound at feet and also hands v rattling chains, eventually "appeared." The spirit then beckoned for Athenodoros to monitor him; Athenodoros complied, but the ghost soon vanished. The philosopher significant the spot whereby the old man had actually disappeared, and, top top the next day, advised the magistrates to destruction there. The man"s shackled bones were apparently uncovered three years later. ~ a suitable burial, the hauntings ceased.<7>

Many Eastern spiritual traditions also subscribe to the principle of ghosts. The Hindu Garuda Purana has thorough information about ghosts,<8> and the realms of renewal in buddhist cosmology contain a kingdom of hungry ghosts.

The soul world

Spirits are often visualized together being interconnected to all others and also The heart (singular capitalized) refers to the theories of a merged spirituality, global consciousness and some concepts of Deity. Every "spirits" connected type a greater unity, the Spirit, which has actually both an identity separate native its aspects plus a consciousness and also intellect greater than that is elements; one ultimate, unified, non-dual awareness or force of life combine or transcending all individual devices of consciousness. The endure of such a link can be a primary basis for spiritual belief. The ax spirit has been provided in this sense by at the very least Anthroposophy, Aurobindo Ghose, A course In Miracles, Hegel, and Ken Wilber. In this use, the hatchet is conceptually the same to Plotinus"s "One" and also Friedrich Schelling"s "Absolute." Similarly, follow to the pan(en)theistic aspect, spirit is the essence that deserve to manifest itself together mind/soul through any type of level in pantheistic hierarchy/holarchy, such as a mind/soul of a solitary cell (with very primitive, elemental consciousness), or a person or pet mind/soul (with consciousness on a level the organic synergy effect of an individual human/animal), or a (superior) mind/soul through synergetically extremely complex/sophisticated awareness of totality galaxies involving all sub-levels, all emanating (since the is non-dimensional, or trans-dimensional) indigenous the one Spirit.

According to the doctrine of Spiritualism, soul constitute or inhabit a human being in itself; this world is referred to as the heart World. The Spirit civilization is the key world and also from this come all other worlds. This civilization is elevation from our "material" world. Both people interact all the time, yet are elevation from every other. V mediumship, these people can connect with each other.

The Spiritist ideology affirms that we are, an initial and foremost, spiritual us temporarily life in the physics realm through a purpose. The shared belief is that the human being consciousness, or soul, continues to exist past the physical body. Therefore, life is defined as a consistent learning suffer governed through a curriculum the calls for periods in the physics realm until such time that human being have learned enough lessons to graduate come a spiritual visibility in the soul world. Given this perspective, Spiritism sustains the concept of a spiritual evolution, the supports the idea the the elements of the physical and also spiritual realm room interconnected and continuously evolving.

Other uses

In enhancement to these metaphysical interpretations, words "spirit" can additionally be provided in the following vernacular ways:

It have the right to refer come the feeling of inclusion in the social history or cumulative essence of an institution or group, such as in school spirit or esprit de corpsIt deserve to mean the "spirit that the age"It can be a synonym for vivacity together in "She performed the item with spirit," or "She placed up a spirited defense"In Mysticism, it have the right to refer to existence in unity v the Godhead.



Burton, Ernest De Witt. Spirit, Soul, and also Flesh: The consumption of … in Greek Writings and Translated functions from the Earliest period to 180 C.E. College Of Chicago Press, 1918.Motse, W.P. Mei (trans.). The Ethical and also Political functions of Motse (Mozi, Mo-tzu, Motze). Arthur Probsthain, 1929.

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