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Dualism of body and soul


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#1 Shawn Lazar

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Posted 22 December 2009 - 05:36 PM

I have a question about the nature of the soul, and the implications it has for developing an Orthodox defense of human dignity against, say, the animal rights movement. Recently, I read something by Romanides, I think it was his lectures on Patristic Theology, where he denies that Orthodox believe in anything like the "Frankish" concept of the soul. I'm afraid I wasn't clear on what "Frankish" view he had in mind.

So, assuming that Orthodox anthropology requires some belief in the soul in relation to the body, especially where this involves defending the full humanity of Christ, what do we make of it? What is the soul? Is it an immaterial substantial entity? Is it a 'form' of the body? Is it something else? Cavarnos edited a volume concerning modern Greek philosophers on the soul. Are there any other resources someone could point me to?

#2 Cyprian (Humphrey)

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Posted 22 December 2009 - 08:09 PM

I can't answer your question, as I don't know any more than you do on the subject, but what I do know is that there are difficulties that come simply from linguistics. There's more than one Greek word that gets translated "soul". For example, the most common word, perhaps, is psuche, from which we get: psyche, psychic, and psychological. This would seem to imply that it is a synonym for "mind", but the way the words are used in theological texts seems to imply that that's not always the case (maybe they're translating a different Greek word?).

I'm sorry if I've muddied the waters for you, but it seems like clarifying the original words used might be a good first step.

#3 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 22 December 2009 - 10:40 PM

It is not a "dualism", it is a triumvirate. We are a trinity: Body, soul and spirit. Metropolitan Hierotheos says this makes us distinct from the angels and from animals. Angels have a soul and a spirit, animals have a spirit and a body, but only we have all three. As to the specifics of the spirit and the soul, that gets a little fuzzy because different Orthodox writers use them interchangeably or one defines "spirit" the same as another defines "soul". But the clear teaching is that we are not "complete" as humans without all three. The "soul" does not constitute the fullness of our being, this is one of the main arguments against reincarnation. We have one soul, one body, and one spirit, not many. Our "renewed" body will be the recognizable as the one we have now.

Metropolitan Heirotheos would be an excellent resource on the subject.

#4 Shawn Lazar

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Posted 22 December 2009 - 11:22 PM

Vladimir Lossky says that the Fathers are divided as to whether man is a dualism or tripartite: "The Fathers of the Greek Church presented human nature thus:either as the tripartite composition of spirit, soul and body..., or as the union of soul and body. The distinction between the advocates of trichotomism and dichotomism reduces generally to one of terminology." (Orthodox Theology, p. 131) He then quotes St. Tikhon Zadonsky to the effect that the human soul is a spirit, but later, Lossky writes as if soul and spirit are distinct.

In any case, he does not address what the soul is, whether immaterial substance or form. I'll have to go re-read my Vlachos books.

I was hoping one of the Church Fathers, in arguing for the full humanity of Christ, would have had occasion to explain what it meant for Christ to have a soul.

#5 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 23 December 2009 - 03:06 AM

According to St. Athanasius in his treatises against Apollinaris, Jesus must have had a human soul, or he could not have undergone the separation of soul and body in death. If the Word merely withdrew from the body in its death, He would not have been able to redeem humanity from death. His assumed humanity includes soul and body, so that He can reunite them so that the mortal can put on immortality.

If death is the separation of soul and body, then the Word must pass through that as much as He passes through any other human experience. Passing through this separation means that the Word must remain with both soul and body even in their separation. The Word takes on the whole of human existence, and that means when the human nature He has made His own gets ripped in two, He can’t stand back and watch; He needs to pass through that rupture of His own humanity. Only by suffering the whole of human death in His humanity can the Word overcome death.

#6 Shawn Lazar

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Posted 23 December 2009 - 03:20 AM

Does St Athanasius say anything about what the soul is? Is it a substance, or a form, or something else?

#7 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 23 December 2009 - 03:50 AM

Does St Athanasius say anything about what the soul is? Is it a substance, or a form, or something else?


I don't think he gets quite that specific. But Metropolitan Hierotheos has this to say on the topic: What the soul is

#8 Ben Johnson

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Posted 23 December 2009 - 05:15 AM

The Hebrew word for soul is nephesh, "Adam became a living nephesh." The verb "naphash" is one of the verbs for "breathe." The noun may have originally meant "neck" or something related to it. The nephesh has desires, such as for food and other bodily appetites, and also for more abstracts notions, such as desiring justice. Interestingly enough, humans AND animals have a nephesh.

--Ben

#9 Vasiliki D.

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Posted 23 December 2009 - 09:22 AM

Does St Athanasius say anything about what the soul is? Is it a substance, or a form, or something else?



There is an extremally delicate element that is finer than light called "ether" ... this subtle element is capable of penetrating and passing everywhere, serving as the smallest particle of material substance.

Suppose within this element soar all the blessed spirits-the angels and Divine saints-who are themselves garbed in a kind of raiment made of that very same element ...

The covering of our soul (by use of the word soul it also refers to the spirit, which is the "soul" of the human "soul") is also made of this very same element. The soul itself is immaterial spirit; but its covering is made from this ethereal immaterial element.

Our bodies are coarse; but that covering of the soul is very fine and serves as the intermediary between the soul and body. Through it the soul acts on the body and the body on the soul.

I am speaking of this only in passing ... just keep in mind that the soul does have a very fine covering, and that our souls have the very same kind of covering as do all spirits.

[From this it wont be very hard to conclude that this omnipresent element, very fine, out of which these coverings are made and in which all spirits soar, is the intermediary for the intermingling of our souls and these spirits.]

The Divine saints ... the element of which we are speaking of is everywhere, and meets no obstacles to itself anywhere. Sunlight passes through glass; while the element can also pass through glass, it also permeates walls, the ground and everything else. Just as it is able to pass through everything, so are those who soar in it able to pass through everything, when that is necessary.

They occupy a definite space, but when they are enjoined to do so or are permitted, they are immediately transferred to wherever it is necesssary by means of the element, and not only do they meet no obstacles, they do not even see them.


St Theophan the Recluse

Edited by Vasiliki D., 23 December 2009 - 10:20 AM.
forgot to include the source


#10 Kosta

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Posted 28 December 2009 - 03:29 AM

Man being made in the image and likeness of God, is a trinity. Now the Fathers talked about both, the duality of man, that is body and soul, the physical and the spiritual. This is further broken down into a triad which in modern usage is refered to as Mind, Body and Soul. St Paul using slightly different terminology blessed the thesalonians in this manner, "Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely and may your whole Spirit, Soul and Body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."(1Thess 5.23)

St Theophan the recluse taught that human nature was Body , Soul and Spirit. The soul being one but with two distinct faculties . The higher faculty known as the spirit and the lower faculty called the soul. It is this higher faculty that the animals do not posses and thus this third part is what distinguishes human nature from the animals. The saint expands upon the trinitarian human nature first used by St Paul in his epistle.

In this regard St Theophan differs from St Gregory Palamas. St Gregory taught a dualism of body and soul. But where both saints agree is that the human soul itself consists of three functions. St Gregory called these the powers of the soul: the Nous (mind), Logos (reason), Pneuma (spirit). St Theophan using slightly different terminology concludes the triumvirate of the soul: the intellect (mind), the heart, and the Will. The Lord himself describes this in Matthew 22.37, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your Heart, with all your soul and with all your mind."

Both Sts. Gregory and Theophan expand on the triadic elements of the soul found in Matt 22.37, but St Theophan further clarifies the triadic expression used by St Paul in the Thessalonians. Some of the things that are common to both, is the "heart" tends to be the innermost chamber of the soul where all the vices and virtues of man are located. The free Will of man is that which voluntarily can choose or reject God, its unique to humans, and is tied to the souls (Logos-wil) reason and that inclination to sin (gnomic will).

Really interesting stuff.

Edited by Kosta, 28 December 2009 - 03:45 AM.





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