What is a Soul?

Discussion in 'Belief and Spirituality' started by dauer, Aug 12, 2008.

  1. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    Netti,

    It could, yes.
     
  2. 17th Angel

    17th Angel לבעוט את התחת ולקחת שמות

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    D,

    In gen 1:20 (first time in the OT that the word soul is used...) I read... (slightly cut) And god went on to say: Let the waters swarm forth a swarm of living souls.....

    1:30 reads

    And to every flying creature of the heavens and to everything moving upon the earth in which there is life as a soul

    2:7 reads

    And the man came to be a living soul.

    Another one to ponder on... 2:19 (cutting again) whatever the man would call it, each living soul that was it's name.
     
  3. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    Alex,

    1:20 the only thing I would question is whether or not nefesh chayah should be translated as living souls, but it certainly could be translated that way.

    1:30 uses the identical phrase, nefesh chayah, where you have translated it as "life as a soul." The text I'm looking at, NJPS also uses two different translations, "living creatures" and "breath of life." I don't like how they translated nefesh chayah as breath of life because it's identical to the translation they use for nishmat chayyim in 2:7, where nefesh chayah is living being.

    If I open up the Shocken translation by Fox it's "living beings" and "living being" which is imo more consistent. This is how he translates those lines:

    1:20 "God said:
    Let the waters swarm with a swarm of living beings, and let fowl
    fly above the earth, across the dome of the heavens!"

    1:30 "and also for the living beings of the earth, for all the fowl of
    the heavens, for all that crawls about upon the earth in which
    there is living being--
    all green plants for eating.
    It was so.

    2:7 in NJPS now switches to living being. In Fox it's still consistently living being.

    2:19 again uses the phrase nefesh chayah which NJPS translates as living creature and Fox, ever consistent, translates as living being.

    -- Dauer
     
  4. 17th Angel

    17th Angel לבעוט את התחת ולקחת שמות

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    Dauer thank you so much for that lesson :) I was thinking that something along those lines, I did come across another interesting account in Gen but this time the word soul must mean something else... Or something lol... Gen 9:3-4 is just after the Ark of Noah has come to land, and god gives this instruction to Noah... Every moving animal that is alive may serve as food for you. As in the case of green vegetation, I do give it all to you.. Only flesh with it's soul it's blood you must not eat....

    9:5 GOD: "And, besides that, your blood of your souls shall I ask back from the hand of every living creature shall I ask it back; and from the hand of man, from the hand of each one who is his brother, shall I ask back the soul of man."

    So I am seeing here that every living being has two souls... A physical soul and a spiritual soul.. Anyone else getting that? Like soul is you the body the flesh.. But it is also... you.
     
  5. 17th Angel

    17th Angel לבעוט את התחת ולקחת שמות

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    Mee:

    What does yhwh mean when he says.... "Every living soul among all flesh."?
     
  6. Netti-Netti

    Netti-Netti New Member

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    The term Nephesh is rarely used in relation to 'soul.'

    Nephesh - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
  7. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    Alex,

    9:3-4 says col-remesh asher hu-chai

    If you go back to 1:24 remesh is used there and in 1:30 it says "romeish al-ha'aretz." That's actually a piece of biblical grammar I know a little about because it's where later Hebrew grammar got the present tense. I don't remember the name for that type of usage but it would mean instead of creeping thing, thing that creeps. You can see how that would lend itself well as an adaptation into a verb form. The hebrew that you translate as its soul, its blood, is b'naphsho, damo. I don't know if the prefix b' is a little different in biblical hebrew. In modern hebrew it means in or on. the suffix -o means his or in the case of your translation its because English doesn't use gender there. I'm guessing b' has a different meaning in biblical hebrew, or a more nuanced meaning, because it's translated differently in both of the translations in front of me.

    The passage that you present is actually one of the texts used to support that man was originally vegetarian and suggest meat was only allowed after the flood. To me that, in combination with the spilling of blood (associated with life) speaks at the very least to the Israelites as sensitive to the fact that animals were living beings and deserved to be treated with respect, and maybe a discomfort at the knowledge that they were taking an innocent life.

    -- Dauer
     
  8. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    Netti,

    it depends on who's doing the translating. There are some Jewish translations, for example, that almost without question always translate nefesh as soul and others that never do. There are interpretations that use both meanings. I've argued in the past that the Israelites had no concept of an eternal soul, that it was a later reading into the text of new ideas. Nefesh also refers specifically to one of the levels of the soul in Judaism. In a sense what I would consider the older conceptualization still remained because nefesh is associated with the spiritual counterpart to physicality and is a part of the soul that is said to stay with the body after death.

    -- Dauer
     
  9. 17th Angel

    17th Angel לבעוט את התחת ולקחת שמות

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    Thanks again D. :D
     
  10. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercuræn Buddhist

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    Thank you, dauer. That makes perfect sense.

    The way I see it, the blood is the means by which breath [ruach] is transferred to the physical body. Adam was made from earth, and God breathed the spirit into him, and he became a living soul. Breath [ruach] could be seen as dual process if you consider ordinary respiration (carried by the blood to the body, made from earth, the blood of which is to be returned to the earth,) and pranic breathing, which is more spiritual, and would be returned to God.
     
  11. mee

    mee Interfaith Forums

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    Are you refering to Genesis 8-15;17?
     
  12. Penguin

    Penguin Member

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    What a great, thought provoking thread. Nice one dauer!:)
    In my opinion the soul is what gives us a being and personality etc and also can leave some kind of "footprint" on earth. Differs from the spirit, which is energy and other elements, which are beyond any comprehension.
    My thoughts.:)
     
  13. Dondi

    Dondi Active Member

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    I'm sorry about being late on this post, but I didn't catch this the first time around? Could you elaborate on neshamah yeteirah? Is this like an extra shot of spirituality one experiences on Shabbot? What exactly happens or supposed to happen? Also, does neshamah have any association with the word shaman?
     
  14. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    Hey dondi.

    The neshamah yeteirah is an additional soul associated with the restfulness of shabbat. I would liken it to a particular experience or range of experiences, in the same sense that the other souls or levels of the soul in Judaism can be likened to certain categories of experience.

    I don't think there is any etymological connection between the word neshamah and shaman. Neshamah is related to neshimah, breath.

    A quick google search for the etymology of shaman suggests that it is "1698, "priest of the Ural-Altaic peoples," probably via Ger. Schamane, from Rus. shaman, from Tungus shaman, which is perhaps from Chinese sha men "Buddhist monk," from Prakrit samaya-, from Skt. sramana-s "Buddhist ascetic.""

    Online Etymology Dictionary

    -- Dauer
     
  15. Bruno's logic

    Bruno's logic Agnostic/Panthiest

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    Soul exists as the self aware life force in and of the one infinite existence.

    Soul permeates the infinite source it is the breath of life.

    Spirit is the unique essence of who we actually are, Individually and collectively on many levels (my spirit, the human spirit, this sun’s spirit etc…)

    Our ego gets in the way when we try to remember/experience soul, and that’s where spirit comes into play….. When we disregard our ego and pay no homage to fear we are in tune with our spirit and our spirit is always in tune with the eternal soul.

    For my spirit to experience what it is to be human I must experience ego…..
    I don’t know if becoming human is a choice or a duty, a punishment or a reward or something else entirely but spirits are experiencing this, state of being, for some reason and if we choose to know the answer we must connect with our spirit.

    Just remember that the one eternal soul permeates all of existence it is the glue, it is the reason, it is the love of oll that there is.
    ~Bruno
     
  16. taijasi

    taijasi Gnōthi seauton

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    Bruno, you seem to have said it all. My take on is maybe similar?

    The Soul seems to me as being always present. The irony there is that to be quite truthful and honest I’m not sure I can say the same. If asked the question, was there ever a time when you’re fairly certain that the Soul was not, I can only reply, not that I recall. Is, then, the Soul immortal?

    Some people feel that it does not originate here, and that one day it will certainly leave here, yet how true it is that we’ve gotten used to calling here hOMe.

    Somehow, in a way I do not quite understand, here is where I’ve always been, yet without the Soul I might drift, and float away … carried in the four directions outward, rather than the reverse. Maybe the author of Fifth Element (a great movie with Bruce Willis) may have been saying something along these lines?

    All I’m sure of is one thing. We are here for a purpose, to build a sort of structure, which itself serves an even greater, Purpose. The Soul, understanding more of Purpose than ourselves, teaches us even as its own greater growth is facilitated … and in this way all parts come to cooperate, serving + Lovingly - with Vision and insight.
     
  17. Nick_A

    Nick_A Interfaith Forums

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    <DIV>Perhaps the reason the soul is so hard to fathom is because it only exists in us as a seed.

    <DIV><SPAN style="mso-bidi-font-size: 12.0pt"><FONT size=2>
     
  18. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste dauer,

    thank you for the interesting OPs of late :)

    i've no idea what a soul is and beings use the term to be indicative of different aspect of being, as near as i can tell. my religion doesn't even talk about souls :) my religion talks about Self and self though the idea of Self is how i understand most beings use the term Soul.

    by and large i understand people using the term to refer to some aspect of being which exists after the dissolution of the physical form in substantially the same manner as it does when the being is alive.

    irrespective of when the soul or, in my tradition, the Self would come into being it is considered to be eternal. in some religious paradigms it is the soul which undergoes judgement for the actions of the physical form when the soul was present. some religions say that souls are pre-existent, i.e. that the humans soul exists before the humans physical form arises, some say that the souls existed since their deity created the cosmos others indicate that the soul arises as the human physical form is conceived and still others at varying points. there are even disagreements within the same tradition on this subject.

    i think there is a very good reason why there is such disagreement on this extremely important aspect of being mostly having to do with a lack of intersubjective evidence for such a things existence to begin with.

    it's hard to speak about souls in a general way as it seems that everybody has a particular view about what souls are even if they share many common points with others that hold views which include the idea of souls.

    metta,

    ~v
     
  19. mee

    mee Interfaith Forums

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    The Bible teaches that the soul dies, and that the hope of future life depends on the resurrection.
     
  20. mee

    mee Interfaith Forums

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    WHAT IS THE "SOUL"?

    The Bible’s teaching about the soul is very clear.


    It says that when man is animated by the breath of life from God, man becomes "a living soul."




    At Genesis 2:7 it is written: "And Jehovah God proceeded to form the man out of dust from the ground [elements found in the earth] and to blow into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man came to be a living soul."



    You will note that this passage does not say the soul was created before the body.



    Neither does it say the soul was "given to" or "put into" man.



    Nor does it say that the "breath of life" was the soul.



    Instead, it says that when man came alive, beginning to breathe,


    "man came to be a living soul."
     

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