μιάσμα καὶ πνεύμα*

Λέανδρος πᾶσιν τοῖς οὖσιν ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ, ὑγίεια ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη.

σήμερον βούλομαι λαλεῖν περὶ προβλήματος μεγίστου ὅ ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ ἡμῶν ἕχομεν. μέλλω λαλεῖν περὶ τοῦ μιάσματος. οἱ διάλογοι τῶν ἀρχαίκων ἔλεξαν πολλά περὶ τούτου τοῦ πρόβλημα καὶ πως ἀπὸ τῶν μιασμάτων φεύγειν δυνάμεθα ὅ καὶ νῦν ἀνάκγη ἐστιν ἡμῖν. πολλοί μἐν διαλογοί ἐν τῷ δικτύῳ εἰσιν περὶ τῶν νόσων πάλαι, ὡς ὁ Λοιμός τῶν Ἀθηνῶν. μᾶλλον δὲ τὸν βίον κοινόν αἱ νόσοι καθιστᾶσιν. τὸ γάρ μιάσμα τὴν αἰτίαν ἐστιν τῶν πολλῶν ἀνθρωπίνων παραδόσεων ὅμοιος ἡ καθάρσις ἤ τὸ βάπτισμα. ἡ οὖν ἀνάκγη καθαρίζειν ἡμᾶς αὐτούς τῶν μιασμάτων ἀεί παρῆν.

νῦν δὲ παραδείγματα τινά σκοπῶμεν. Πρώτον μὲν τὸ εὐαγγελίον τοῦ Μάρκου ἐν ᾧ περιβαίνει ὁ Ιησοῦς ἐκβάλλων τὰ πνεύματα κακὰ ἐκ τῶν πασχόντων. 

καὶ εὐθὺς ἦν ἐν τῇ συναγωγῇ αὐτῶν ἄνθρωπος ἐν πνεύματι ἀκαθάρτῳ καὶ ἀνέκραξεν λέγων· τί ἡμῖν καὶ σοί, Ἰησοῦ Ναζαρηνέ; ἦλθες ἀπολέσαι ἡμᾶς; οἶδά σε τίς εἶ, ὁ ἅγιος τοῦ θεοῦ. καὶ ἐπετίμησεν αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς λέγων· φιμώθητι καὶ ἔξελθε ἐξ αὐτοῦ. καὶ σπαράξαν αὐτὸν τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἀκάθαρτον καὶ φωνῆσαν φωνῇ μεγάλῃ ἐξῆλθεν ἐξ αὐτοῦ. καὶ ἐθαμβήθησαν ἅπαντες, ὥστε συζητεῖν πρὸς ἑαυτοὺς λέγοντας· τί ἐστιν τοῦτο; διδαχὴ καινή· κατ’ ἐξουσίαν καὶ τοῖς πνεύμασι τοῖς ἀκαθάρτοις ἐπιτάσσει, καὶ ὑπακούουσιν αὐτῷ. 

ΚΑΤΑ ΜΑΡΚΟΝ (1.23-27)

τεκμήριον ἐστιν ὅτι ὁ νόσος πρόβλημα τῆς καθ᾽ἡμέρας ἦν. ταῦτα τὰ κακὰ πνεύματα κατελαμβάνοντο δαίμονας τινά εἶναι ἅ εἰσέβαλλον εἰς τὸ σῶμα. 

ὀψίας δὲ γενομένης, ὅτε ἔδυ ὁ ἥλιος, ἔφερον πρὸς αὐτὸν πάντας τοὺς κακῶς ἔχοντας καὶ τοὺς δαιμονιζομένους· καὶ ἦν ὅλη ἡ πόλις ἐπισυνηγμένη πρὸς τὴν θύραν. καὶ ἐθεράπευσεν πολλοὺς κακῶς ἔχοντας ποικίλαις νόσοις, καὶ δαιμόνια πολλὰ ἐξέβαλεν, καὶ οὐκ ἤφιεν λαλεῖν τὰ δαιμόνια, ὅτι ᾔδεισαν αὐτόν.

ΚΑΤΑ ΜΑΡΚΟΝ (1.32-34)

καίπερ οὐκ ὀρθοῦ ὄντος περὶ τῆς οὐσίας, ὀρθῶς ἐλέγετο ὅτι μιάσμα τις ἐν τῷ ἀέρι εἰσέβαλλεν εἰς τὸ σῶμα τῷ στόματι καθιστάμενον τὸν νόσον τε καὶ τὴν μανίαν. τὸ μέρος ἡμέτερον τοῦ κόσμου ἐνομίζετο πλήρης τοῦ μιάσματος εἶναι καὶ τὸν ἀέρα ὅν πνέομεν οὐκ καθαρόν ἦν. ὅτι δεῖ τοῖς ἰατροῖς σκοπεῖν τὰ πνεύματα τῶν διάφορων τόπων ὁ Ἱπποκράτης ἐδέξατο. 

Ἰητρικὴν ὅστις βούλεται ὀρθῶς ζητέειν, τάδε χρὴ ποιέειν…ἔπειτα δὲ τὰ πνεύματα τὰ θερμά τε καὶ τὰ ψυχρά· μάλιστα μὲν τὰ κοινὰ πᾶσιν ἀνθρώποισιν, ἔπειτα δὲ καὶ τὰ ἐν ἑκάστῃ χώρῃ ἐπιχώρια ἐόντα… ὥστε, ἐς πόλιν ἐπειδὰν ἀφίκηταί τις ἧς ἄπειρός ἐστι, διαφροντίσαι χρὴ τὴν· θέσιν αὐτέης, ὅκως κέεται καὶ πρὸς τὰ πνεύματα καὶ πρὸς τὰς ἀνατολὰς τοῦ ἡλίου·

ΠΕΡΙ ΑΕΡΩΝ, ΥΔΑΤΩΝ, ΤΟΠΩΝ (1)

ἡμεῖς μὲν ἀποθῄσκομεν διότι πνέομεν τὸν ἀέρα ἀκάθαρτον. ὁ δὲ μέρος ὑψηλός τοῦ κόσμου τὸν ἀέρα καθαρόν ἔχει. 

τόν τε περὶ τὴν γῆν ἀέρα ἄσειστον καὶ νοσερὸν καὶ τὰ ἐν αὐτῷ πάντα θνητά· τὸν δὲ ἀνωτάτω ἀεικίνητόν τ᾿ εἶναι καὶ καθαρὸν καὶ ὑγιᾶ καὶ πάντα τὰ ἐν αὐτῷ ἀθάνατα καὶ διὰ τοῦτο θεῖα. ἥλιόν τε καὶ σελήνην καὶ τοὺς ἄλλους ἀστέρας εἶναι θεούς.

ΔΙΟΓΕΝΟΥΣ ΛΑΕΡΤΙΟΥ ΒΙΩΝ ΚΑΙ ΓΝΩΜΩΝ ΤΩΝ ΕΝ ΦΙΛΟΣΟΦΑΙ ΕΥΔΟΚΙΜΗΣΑΝΤΩΝ, Η, ΚΕΦ. Α’. ΠΥΘΑΓΟΡΑΣ (8.1.27)

ἐάν τήν ἐξουσίαν εἴχομεν ἔκει ἀναβαίνειν τὰ ἡμέτερα σώματα οὐκ ἀπέθνῃσκον διά τοὺς νόμους ἐπὶ τήν γῆν. ὁ οὐρανός ἐνομίζετο συνεχής εἶναι ὁπόθεν αἱ ὄρνιθες ζοῦσιν ὅποι καὶ τὰ ἄστρα καὶ οἱ πλάνητες ζοῦσιν. τὰ οὖν ἄστρα καὶ οἱ πλάνητες ζοῦσιν ἐν τόπῷ τινί ὅς ἔχει καὶ τὸν ἀέρα ὅν πνέηται. ἡ διάνοια ὅτι ἔμψυχοι ἦσαν τὰ ἄστρα καὶ οἱ πλάνητες κοινή ἦν. ἀλλὰ καὶ ἀθάνατοι ἦσαν διότι ὁ ἀήρ ὅς ἔπνεον ἐν τῷ ὑψηλῷ οὐρανῷ καθαρώτατος ἦν. 

ἀλλὰ μὴν ἡλίου τε καὶ σελήνης καὶ ἄστρων ὁδὸς διὰ τοῦ πνεύματός ἐστιν· τῷ γὰρ πυρὶ τὸ πνεῦμα τροφή· πῦρ δὲ ἠέρος στερηθὲν οὐκ ἂν δύναιτο ζῆν· ὥστε καὶ τὸν τοῦ ἡλίου βίον ἀένναον ὁ ἀὴρ λεπτὸς ἐὼν παρέχεται.

ΠΕΡΙ ΦΥΣΩΝ (3.20-22)

πολλοί μὲν οὖν ἐνενομίκεσαν ὅτι ἐάν τήν ἐξουσίαν εἴχομεν ἔκει ἀναβαίνειν πρός τὸν μέρον τοῦ οὐρανοῦ ὅς πνεύμα καθαρόν ἔχει, καὶ ἄν ἡμεῖς ἀθάνατοι ἐγιγνόμεθα. 

σκοπῶμεν οὖν τήν ἀνάκγην τῶν ἐκφεύγειν ἀπὸ τῶν ἀκαθάρτων πνευμάτων ἐπὶ τήν γῆν. τί διάλυσιν εὗρον οἱ φιλόσοφοι; ἡ ἐπιστολή Πρὸς Κορινθίους τοῦ Παύλου παράδειγμα τούτου ἐστιν. ὁ Παύλος ἔγραψε περὶ τοῦ σώματος τοῦ Χριστοῦ μετὰ τήν ἀνάστασιν ὡς πνευματικῷ ὄντι. καὶ δὴ καὶ τοῦτο ἔσται τὸ αὐτο σῶμα ὅτι καὶ ἡμεῖς σχήσομεν. τοῦτο ἂν εἴη σῶμα τι πεποιημένον ἐκ τοῦ πνεύματος, ὁ ἀήρ ἀπὸ τοῦ ὑψηλοῦ κόσμου. 

οὕτως καὶ ἡ ἀνάστασις τῶν νεκρῶν… σπείρεται σῶμα ψυχικόν, ἐγείρεται σῶμα πνευματικόν. εἰ ἔστιν σῶμα ψυχικόν, ἔστιν καὶ πνευματικόν. οὕτως καὶ γέγραπται· ἐγένετο ὁ πρῶτος ἄνθρωπος Ἀδὰμ εἰς ψυχὴν ζῶσαν· ὁ ἔσχατος Ἀδὰμ εἰς πνεῦμα ζῳοποιοῦν. ἀλλ’ οὐ πρῶτον τὸ πνευματικὸν ἀλλὰ τὸ ψυχικόν, ἔπειτα τὸ πνευματικόν. ὁ πρῶτος ἄνθρωπος ἐκ γῆς χοϊκός, ὁ δεύτερος ἄνθρωπος ἐξ οὐρανοῦ. 

ΠΡΟΣ ΚΟΡΙΝΘΙΟΥΣ Α (42, 44-47)

τὰ ζῷα διακρίνει ὁ Παύλος ἅ ἐν τοῖς διάφοροις τόποις ζοῦσιν. οἱ μὲν γάρ ἰχθύες τὰ δέοντα σώματα τῷ ὕδρατι ἔχοσιν, ἡμεῖς δὲ ἔχομεν τὰ ἐπὶ τήν γῆν ζεῖν καὶ τὰ τοῖς ἄστροις εἰσιν καὶ πλάνησιν ἅ δέοντα τῷ οὐρανῷ. 

οὐ πᾶσα σὰρξ ἡ αὐτὴ σάρξ, ἀλλὰ ἄλλη μὲν ἀνθρώπων, ἄλλη δὲ σὰρξ κτηνῶν, ἄλλη δὲ σὰρξ πτηνῶν, ἄλλη δὲ ἰχθύων. καὶ σώματα ἐπουράνια, καὶ σώματα ἐπίγεια· ἀλλὰ ἑτέρα μὲν ἡ τῶν ἐπουρανίων δόξα, ἑτέρα δὲ ἡ τῶν ἐπιγείων. ἄλλη δόξα ἡλίου, καὶ ἄλλη δόξα σελήνης, καὶ ἄλλη δόξα ἀστέρων, ἀστὴρ γὰρ ἀστέρος διαφέρει ἐν δόξῃ.

ΠΡΟΣ ΚΟΡΙΝΘΙΟΥΣ Α (39-41)

ὁ οὖν ὑστεραῖος βίος οὐκ μεταφυσικός ἔσται, ἀλλὰ ἕτερος βίος ἐν διαφορῷ σώματι. σῶμα ἐκ τῇ λεπτῇ ὕλῃ πεποιημένον ἅ ἔτι σῶμα φυσικόν ἂν εἴη. οἰ οὖν θεοί καὶ ἄγγελοι σώματα φυσικά ἔχοσιν, ἀλλὰ ταῦτα ἐκ τῆς δεούσης ὕλης πεποιημένον ἵνα ζῶσιν ἐν τῷ ὕψηλῷ κόσμῷ. ἐλέγοντο οὖν ἡ ἀνάστασις καὶ ὁ ὑστεραῖος βίος εἶναι ἕτερος βίος μετὰ καλλίονος τε καὶ ἀμείνονος σώματος ζῶν ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ. σώμα ὅτι οὐκ ἄν ἀπέθνῃσκεν διά πνέον τὰ μιάσματα τῆς γῆς.

καὶ ἐν ταῖς νῦν ἡμέραις, δεῖ ἡμᾶς περὶ τῶν ἑμῶν μιασμάτων νομίζειν. ζοῦμεν ἐν μεγάλαις πόλεσιν αἵ μιάσμα πολύ ἔχοσιν. καὶ διά τὸν ἀδίκιον ὄν ποιέομεν τοῖς ἄλλοις ζῴοις νόσοι νέοι πολλάκις γίγνονται, οἱ ἰατροί μέγιστον ἔργον πράσσειν περὶ οὕ εὐχαριστῶμεν αὐτοῖς, ἀλλὰ οὐκ δύνανται ἐκβάλλειν πάντα τὰ δαιμόνια εἰ τήν ἕξις ἡμῶν οὐκ μεταβάλλομεν.

Η ΛΕΞΙΣ

ἀδίκιον – injustice, wrong, injury, offence

ἀήρ – air

ἀθάνατοι – undying, immortal

ἀκάθαρτον – unclean

ἀμείνονος – better

ἀναβαίνειν – to go up

ἀνάστασις – the upgoing, rebirth, resurrection

ἄγγελοι – angels

ἀποθῄσκομεν – we die

ἄστρα – stars

βάπτισμα – baptism

δαίμονας – demons

δέοντα – appropriate

διακρίνει – he distinguishes

διάλυσιν – solution

διάνοια – idea

δικτύῳ – internet

ἐάν – if ever

ἐδέξατο – demonstrated

εἰρήνη – peace

ἐκβάλλων – throwing out

ἔμψυχοι – ensouled, living

ἕξις – hexis, disposition, habitus

ἐξουσίαν – power, ability, authorotity

ἐνομίζετο – it was thought

ἐνενομίκεσαν – they had thought

ἐπὶ τήν γῆν – on the Earth

ἔσται – it will be

ἕτερος – another

εὗρον – they found

εὐχαριστῶμεν – we may thank

ζεῖν – to live

ζῷα – living beings, lifeforms, animals

θεοί – gods

ἰατροί – doctors

ἰδου – look (imp)

Ιησοῦς – Jesus

ἰχθύες – fishes

Ἱπποκράτης – Hippocrates

καθαρίζειν – to clean

καθαρόν – clean

καθάρσις – catharsis, ritual cleaning

καθιστάμενον – causing

καλλίονος – more beautiful

κοινή – common

Κορινθίους – the Corinthians

κατελαμβάνοντο – they were understood

λεπτῇ ὕλῃ – light material

Λοιμός – plague

μανίαν – madness

μεταβάλλομεν – we change

μετάφρασις – translation

μεταφυσικός – metaphysical

Μιάσμα – pollution

νοσος – disease, illness

ὄρνιθες – birds

οὐκ ὀρθός – not right

ὅποι – to where

ὁπόθεν – from where

οὐρανός – sky, outer space, heaven

οὐσίας – essence

πάλαι – formerly, before, past

παραδόσεων – traditions, customs

παρῆν – it was present

Παύλος – Paul

πεποιημένον – having been made

πλάνητες – planets

πλήρης – full

Πνεύμα – breath

πνέομεν – we breathe

σχήσομεν – we will have

στόματι – mouth

συνεχής – continuous

σῶμα – body

ταῖς νῦν ἡμέραις, – these days, nowadays

τεκμήριον – evidence

ὑγίεια – health

ὑστεραῖος βίος – the next life, the afterlife

ὑψηλός – high

φυσικόν – physical

Χριστοῦ – of Christ

καὶ ἰδου! δεῦρο ἐστιν ἡ Βρετανική μετάφρασις…

Leander to everybody in the cosmos, health and peace.

Today I’d like to talk about a great problem which we have in the world. I’m going to talk about pollution. The dialogues of the ancients said a lot about how we can escape from pollution which is also a need we have today. There are lots of articles on the internet about pandemics in ancient times, like the plague at Athens. However, pollutions affect everyday life and they were the cause of many human customs like catharsis and baptism. Therefore, the need we have to clean ourselves of pollution was always present.

Let’s analyse some examples. Firstly Mark’s Gospel in which Jesus walks around throwing bad breath out of the sufferers:

Just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, and he cried out, “what have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with aloud voice, came out of him. They were amazed, and they kept on asking one another, “What is this? A new teaching – with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.”

Mark (1:23-27)

This shows that plague was an everyday problem. This bad breath (unclean spirit) was understood to be some kind of demon which attacked the body:

That evening, at sundown, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons. And the whole city was gathered around the door. And he cured many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.

Mark (1:32-34)

Despite not being right about the essence, it was said correctly that a certain pollution in the air entered the body by the mouth causing both illness and madness. Our part of the cosmos was thought to be full of pollutions and the air that we breathe wasn’t clean. Hippocrates demonstrated that it is necessary for doctors to analyse the wind of different places:

Whoever wishes to pursue properly the science of medicine must proceed thus… the next point is the hot winds and the cold, especially those that are universal, but also those that are peculiar to each particular region… Therefore, on arrival at a town with which he is unfamiliar, a physician should examine its position with respect to the winds and the rising sun.

Airs, Waters, Places (1)

We die because we breathe unclean air. However, the upper part of the cosmos has clean air:

The air about the earth is stagnant and unwholesome, and all within it is mortal; but the uppermost air is ever-moved and pure and healthy, and all within it is immortal and consequently divine. The sun, the moon, and the other stars are gods. 

Diogenes Laertius, Life of Pythagoras (8.1.27)

If we were ever to have the ability to go up there, our body wouldn’t die from the diseases around the Earth. The sky was thought to be a continuum from where birds live to where the stars and planets live. Therefore, the stars and planets live in a certain place which also has air which may be breathed. The idea that both the stars and planets were ensouled living beings was common, but they were also immortal because the air which they breathed in the upper sky was the purest:

Nay, the progress of sun, moon, and stars is because of wind; for wind is food for fire, and without air fire could not live. Wherefore, too, air being thin causes the life of the sun to be eternal.

On Breaths (3.22)

Many therefore had thought that if they were ever to have the ability to go up there to the part of the sky which had clean breath, we would also become immortal. We may see therefore, the need to escape from the unclean winds around the Earth. What solution did the ancient philosophers find? Paul’s letter to the Corinthians is an example of this. Paul wrote about the body of Christ after the resurrection as being spiritual (“pneumatic”). What is more, this will be the same body that we will also have. This would be a certain body made out of wind or spirit, the air from the upper cosmos:

So it is with the resurrection of the dead… It is sown a psychic body, it is raised a pneumatic body. If there is a psychic body, there is also a pneumatic body. Thus it is written, “The first man, Adam, became of living being”;the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But it is not pneumatic that is first, but the psychic, and then the pneumatic. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from the sky.

Paul, 1 Corinthians (15:42, 44-47)

Paul distingushes the lifeforms that live in different places, because fish have bodies appropriate to water, while we have ones appropriate to live on the ground and the stars and planets have bodies which are appropriate to the sky:

Not all flesh is alike, but there is one flesh for human beings, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. There are both heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one thing, and that of the earthly is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; indeed, star differs from star in glory.

Paul, 1 Corinthians (15:39-41)

Therefore, the afterlife will not be metaphysical, but rather another life in a different body. A body made out of light matter which would still be a physical body. The gods and angels also have physical bodies, but these have been made out of appropriately light matter so that they may live in the upper cosmos. Both the resurrection and the afterlife were said to be another life with a more beautiful and better body, living in the sky. A body that wouldn’t die through breathing the pollution of the Earth.

Nowadays as well, it is necessary for us to think about our pollutions. We live in big cities which have a lot of pollution and a lot of new infections often happen because of the injustice which we do to other animals. Doctors are doing a great job for which we may thank them, but they cannot throw every demon out if we don’t change our habitus.

Further Reading:

Primary Sources:

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers, Volume II: Books 6-10, trans. R. D. Hicks (1925) Loeb Classical Library 185, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Hippocrates, Airs, Waters, Places, trans. W. H. S. Jones (1923) Loeb Classical Library 147, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Hippocrates, On Breaths, trans. W. H. S. Jones (1923) Loeb Classical Library 148, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Paul. 1 Corinthians, trans. Robert K. Brown & Phillip W. Comfort (1990) The New Greek/ English Interlinear New Testament, Tyndale, Illinois.

Secondary Sources:

Carrier, Richard C. (2005) ‘The Spiritual Body of Christ and the Legend of the Empty Tomb’ in Robertson M. Price & Jeffery Jay Lowder (eds), The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond the Grave, Amherst & New York, Prometheus Books, pp.105-232.

Cobley, Leigh D. (2019) On Pneuma: The Phenomenology of Embodiment (the author’s M.A. dissertation from which ideas in this article are adapted. Contact me directly if you are interested in reading further).

Engberg-Pedersen, Troels. (2010) Cosmology and Self in the Apostle Paul: The Material Spirit, New York, Oxford University Press.

Frey, Jörg. & Levison, John R. (2014) The Holy Spirit, Inspiration and the Cultures of Antiquity, Multidisciplinary Perspectives, Berlin & Boston, De Gruyter.

Martin, Dale B. (1995) The Corinthian Body, New Haven & London, Yale University Press. 

Martin, Troy W. (2006) ‘Paul’s Pneumatological Statements and Ancient Medicine’ in John Fotopoulos (ed), The New Testament and Early Christian Literature in Greco-Roman Context, Leiden & Boston, Brill, pp.105-128.

Robertson, Paul. (2014) ‘De-Spiritualising Pneuma: Modernity, Religion and Anachronism in the Study of Paul’, Method and Theory in the Study of Religion 26, p.365-383, Brill.

Scott, Alan (1991) Origen and the Life of the Stars: A History of an Idea, Oxford, Clarendon Press.

*Caveats:

There are certain concepts that may have been lost in translation. A few examples:

Pneuma can translate as either wind, breath, air or spirit. I have tried to keep to the ancient sense of the word, because “spirit” to us sounds immaterial, but this is a recent change of the word which most likely came about with Descartes’ dualistic thinking in terms of physical and metaphysical. Modern scholarship in both classics and biblical studies have shown that the Latin “spirit” and Greek “pneuma” are to be taken as light physical substances in this universe (Frey & Levison, 2014).

Miasma could mean pollution is several different senses, including illness and disease passed on through the air, a kind of bad pneuma or breath. Notice how “evil spirits” is a modern translation which also meant “bad breath”. There were plenty of superstitious people who believed in such spirits literally, but they were not all that wrong as the discovery of lifeforms like bacteria has shown us that they were quite right to fear contact with spirits that could possess us by being breathed in.

Ouranos is another tricky concept which to us is three different things. The “sky” which is the earth’s atmosphere, “outer space” where there is no air and “heaven” a metaphysical afterlife. I have decided to stick with “sky” throughout the article, but it should be remembered that it is not just that the ancients had a paucity of vocab. Modern scholarship has shown (Scott, 1991) that the most common afterlife theory was ascension into outer space, either visiting ancestors who lived on other planets or literally becoming stars, having acquired one of Paul’s “pneumatic” bodies. The ancients knew nothing of the extent of the earth’s atmosphere and imagined the same realm, a continuum with ever increasing amounts of cleaner pneuma. 

Psychikos & Pneumatikos. I have liberally treated Phillip W. Comfort’s translation of 1 Corinthians 15 (1990), so as to keep as close to the original “soma psychikos” and “soma pneumatikos” as I can. I find his interpretation “physical” and “spiritual body” problematic in conveying the original meaning from antiquity which had no concept of material/ immaterial dualisms (See Martin, 1995; Roberson, 2014). The psychic body (which also runs the risk of being misunderstood as “soul body”) is the body here on Earth while the pneumatic one (“wind body”?) is that which is made of the lighter physical substances of the upper cosmos, yet is still a physical substance.

ἐθέλετε ὑποστηρίζειν μοι ἵνα ποιέω πλείονα μαθήματα καὶ γράφω πλείονας ἀναγνώσεις; γίγνεσθε οὖν προστάτης μου εἰς τὸ Πάτρεον! 

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