A Psychological-Hermeneutical Appraisal
0. General Introduction
0.1 The spirit world as object of research – clarifications and delimitations
Spirit1, a complicated concept as it is, given the varied nuances the term evokes, is in itself centrally a religious phenomenon. The reason is certainly in its primary association to, and the understanding of God as the Spirit, the absolute spirit and “the supreme objective evidence for the existence of spirit…, who alone can ultimately explain the origin of finite forms of spirit.”2 Though a central religious phenomenon, the attempts at understanding it as a concept is worked out through various religio-philosophical contexts. Though the history of these contexts is not the concern of this work, some brief contact with it is unavoidable. This history runs from the pre-Socratics, through various historical contexts to the present times. It has always played out in man’s bid towards self-understanding (epistemology - anthropology) and the understanding of reality around him (cosmology – theology).
The term “Spirit”, the English rendition of the Latin word “spiritus”, communicating the Greek concepts νου̑ς and πνευ̑μα and rendered in German as “Geist” is traced back to the Hebrew word – Wind, Breath, etc. Following this German rendition, the term embraces in its fold a wide range of meanings – physical and intellectual, material and spiritual, internal and external, essence, consciousness etc. Appreciated as “wind, breath”, it involves some dynamism, the act of movement that is capable of setting in motion or otherwise.3 Tracing the relationship in meaning between the German word Geist, the Latin and...
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