Holy Spirit

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Holy Spirit
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{{other uses}}{{short description|Religious concept with varied meanings}}{{Use mdy dates|date=January 2019}}{{Use American English|date=September 2016}}{{Philosophy of religion sidebar |expanded=God}}Holy Spirit is understood differently among the Abrahamic religions.BOOK, Levison, John R., The Spirit in First-Century Judaism, Brill, Boston, 0-391-04131-2, 65,weblink Relevant Milieux : Israelite Literature : The expression, holy spirit, occurs in the Hebrew Bible only in Isa 63:10–11 and Ps 51:13. In Isaiah 63, the spirit acts within the corporate experience of Israel..., 2002, BOOK, Caner, Emir Fethi, Caner, Ergun Mehmet, More Than a Prophet: An Insider's Response to Muslim Beliefs about Jesus and Christianity,weblink 2003, Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI, 978-0-8254-9682-0, 43, In Surah al-Nahl (16:102), the text is even more explicit: Say, the Holy Spirit has brought the revelation from thy Lord in Truth, in order to strengthen those who believe and as a Guide and glad tidings to Muslims.", The term is also used to describe aspects of other religions and belief structures.


The word spirit (from the Latin spiritus meaning "breath") appears either alone or with other words, in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and the New Testament. Combinations include expressions such as the "Holy Spirit", "Spirit of God", and in Christianity, "Spirit of Christ".{{sfn|Bultmann|2007|p=153}}The word spirit is rendered as רוּחַ (ruach) in Hebrew-language parts of the Old Testament. In its Aramaic parts, the term is rûacḥ.BOOK, Levison, John R., Filled with the Spirit,weblink 2009, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, Grand Rapids, 978-0-8028-6372-0, 129, The Greek translation of the Old Testament, the Septuagint, translates the word as πνεῦμα (pneuma).BOOK, Caulley, Thomas Scott, Elwell, Walter A., Evangelical Dictionary of Theology,weblink 2001, Baker Academic, Grand Rapids, 978-1-4412-0030-3, 568, Holy Spirit, This is the same word that is used throughout the New Testament, written originally in Greek.{{sfn|Bultmann|2007|p=154}}The English term spirit comes from its Latin origin, spiritus, which is how the Vulgate translates both the Old and New Testament concept.WEB, spirit (n.), Harper, Douglas, Online Etymology Dictionary, August 29, 2016,weblink The alternative term, "Holy Ghost", comes from Old English translations of spiritus.WEB, ghost (n.), Harper, Douglas, Online Etymology Dictionary, August 29, 2016,weblink

Comparative religion

The Hebrew Bible contains the term "spirit of God" (ruach hakodesh) in the sense of the might of a unitary God. This meaning is different from the Christian concept of "Holy Spirit" as one personality of God in the Trinity.BOOK, Espín, Orlando O., Espín, Orlando O., Nickoloff, James B., An Introductory Dictionary of Theology and Religious Studies,weblink 2007, Liturgical Press, Collegeville, 978-0-8146-5856-7, 576, Holy Spirit, The Christian concept tends to emphasize the moral aspect of the Holy Spirit more than Judaism, evident in the epithet {{em|Holy}} Spirit that appeared in Jewish religious writings only relatively late but was a common expression in the Christian New Testament.BOOK, Dunn, James D. G., Welker, Michael, The Work of the Spirit: Pneumatology and Pentecostalism,weblink 2006, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, Grand Rapids, 978-0-8028-0387-0, 3, Towards the Spirit of Christ: The Emergence of the Distinctive Features of Christian Pneumatology, According to theologian Rudolf Bultmann, there are two ways to think about the Holy Spirit: "animistic" and "dynamistic". In animistic thinking, it is "an independent agent, a personal power which like a demon can fall upon a man and take possession of him, enabling him or compelling him to perform manifestations of power" while in dynamistic thought it "appears as an impersonal force which fills a man like a fluid".{{sfn|Bultmann|2007|p=155}} Both kinds of thought appear in Jewish and Christian scripture, but animistic is more typical of the Old Testament whereas dynamistic is more common in the New Testament.{{sfn|Bultmann|2007|pp=156–157}} The distinction coincides with the Holy Spirit as either a temporary or permanent gift. In the Old Testament and Jewish thought, it is primarily temporary with a specific situation or task in mind, whereas in the Christian concept the gift resides in man permanently.{{sfn|Bultmann|2007|pp=157}}On the surface, the Holy Spirit appears to have an equivalent in non-Abrahamic Hellenistic mystery religions. These religions included a distinction between the spirit and psyche, which is also seen in the Pauline epistles. According to proponents of the History of religions school, the Christian concept of the Holy Spirit cannot be explained from Jewish ideas alone without reference to the Hellenistic religions.{{sfn|Konsmo|2010|p=2}} However, according to theologian Erik Konsmo, the views "are so dissimilar that the only legitimate connection one can make is with the Greek term πνεῦμα [pneuma, Spirit] itself".{{sfn|Konsmo|2010|p=5}}Another link with ancient Greek thought is the Stoic idea of the spirit as anima mundi—or world soul—that unites all people.{{sfn|Konsmo|2010|p=5}} Some believe that this can be seen in Paul's formulation of the concept of the Holy Spirit that unites Christians in Jesus Christ and love for one another, but Konsmo again thinks that this position is difficult to maintain.{{sfn|Konsmo|2010|p=6}} In his Introduction to the 1964 book Meditations, the Anglican priest Maxwell Staniforth wrote:Another Stoic concept which offered inspiration to the Church was that of 'divine Spirit'. Cleanthes, wishing to give more explicit meaning to Zeno's 'creative fire', had been the first to hit upon the term pneuma, or 'spirit', to describe it. Like fire, this intelligent 'spirit' was imagined as a tenuous substance akin to a current of air or breath, but essentially possessing the quality of warmth; it was immanent in the universe as God, and in man as the soul and life-giving principle. Clearly it is not a long step from this to the 'Holy Spirit' of Christian theology, the 'Lord and Giver of life', visibly manifested as tongues of fire at Pentecost and ever since associated – in the Christian as in the Stoic mind – with the ideas of vital fire and beneficent warmth.BOOK, Aurelius, Marcus, Marcus Aurelius, Meditations,weblink 1964, London, Penguin Books, 25, {{ISBN, 978-0-140-44140-6, |isbn=0-14044140-9}}

Abrahamic religions


The Hebrew language phrase ruach ha-kodesh (Hebrew: רוח הקודש, "holy spirit" also transliterated ruacḥ ha-qodesh) is a term used in the Hebrew Bible and Jewish writings to refer to the spirit of YHWH (רוח יהוה).{{JewishEncyclopedia|url=|title=Holy Spirit}} The Hebrew terms ruacḥ qodshəka, "thy holy spirit" (רוּחַ קָדְשְׁךָ), and ruacḥ qodshō, "his holy spirit" (רוּחַ קָדְשׁוֹ) also occur (when a possessive suffix is added the definite article ha is dropped).The Holy Spirit in Judaism generally refers to the divine aspect of prophecy and wisdom. It also refers to the divine force, quality, and influence of the Most High God, over the universe or over his creatures, in given contexts.Alan Unterman and Rivka Horowitz, Ruah ha-Kodesh, Encyclopaedia Judaica (CD-ROM Edition, Jerusalem: Judaica Multimedia/Keter, 1997).


For the large majority of Christians, the Holy Spirit (or Holy Ghost, from Old English gast, "spirit") is the thirdBOOK, Gilles Emery, The Trinity: An Introduction to Catholic Doctrine on the Triune God,weblink 2011, Catholic University of America Press, 978-0-8132-1864-9, member of the Trinity: The "Triune God" manifested as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; each Person being God.BOOK, Millard J., Erickson, 1992, Introducing Christian Doctrine, Baker Book House, 103, BOOK, T. C., Hammond, David F., Wright, 1968, In Understanding be Men: A Handbook of Christian Doctrine, 6th, Inter-Varsity Press, 54–56, 128–131, Grudem, Wayne A. (1994). Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine. Leicester, England: Inter-Varsity Press; Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan. p. 226. Two symbols from the New Testament canon are associated with the Holy Spirit in Christian iconography: a winged dove, and tongues of fire.Luke 3:22, NIVActs 2:3, NIV Each depiction of the Holy Spirit arose from different historical accounts in the Gospel narratives; the first being at the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River where the Holy Spirit was said to descend in the form of a dove as the voice of God the Father spoke as described in Matthew, Mark, and Luke; the second being from the day of Pentecost, fifty days after Pascha where the descent of the Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles and other followers of Jesus Christ, as tongues of fire as described in the Acts of the Apostles {{bibleverse-nb||Acts|2:1–31}}.BOOK, The descent of the Dove : a short history of the Holy Spirit in the church, Williams, Charles, Faber, 1950, London, Called "the unveiled epiphany of God",BOOK, Kasemann, Ernst, 1960, The Beginnings of Christian Theology, W.J. Montague, New Testament Questions of Today, German, 102, Philadelphia: Fortress, 978-1-316-61990-2, the Holy Spirit is the One who empowers the followers of Jesus with spiritual giftsI Corinthians 13:4-11, NIVBOOK,weblink The Holy Spirit and power, Wesley, John, 107, 2003, Bridge-Logos, Keefauver, Larry., Weakley, Clare G., 088270947X, [Rev. and updated ed.], Gainesville, Fla., 53143450, and power(Acts 1:8)Johnson, Bill. When Heaven Invades Earth. Destiny Image, 2005 that enables the proclamation of Jesus Christ, and the power that brings conviction of faith.File:Rom, Vatikan, Basilika St. Peter, Die Taube des Heiligen Geistes (Cathedra Petri, Bernini).jpg|Depiction of the Christian Holy Spirit as a dove, by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, in the apse of Saint Peter's BasilicaFile:Shield-Trinity-Scutum-Fidei-English.svg|A depiction of the Trinity consisting of God the Holy Spirit along with God the Father and God the SonFile:Абраз "Сашэсце Святога Духа".JPG|Pentecost icon depicting the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and Mary in the form of tongues of flame above their heads


The Holy Spirit (Arabic: روح القدس Ruh al-Qudus, "the holy spirit") is mentioned four times in the Qur'an,Qur'an search: روح القدس. where it acts as an agent of divine action or communication. While there are similarities to the Holy Spirit mentioned in Christian and Jewish sources, it is unclear if these four references refer to the same Holy Spirit. The Muslim interpretation of the Holy Spirit is generally consistent with other interpretations based upon the Old and the New Testaments. On the basis of narrations in certain Hadith some Muslims identify it with the angel Gabriel (Arabic Jibrāʾīl).WEB, What Is Meant by the Holy Spirit in the Qur'an?,weblink Islam Awareness, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, November 14, 2018, The Spirit (الروح al-Ruh, without the adjective "holy" or "exalted") is described, among other things, as the creative spirit from God by which God enlivened Adam, and which inspired in various ways God's messengers and prophets, including Jesus and Abraham. The belief in a "Holy Trinity", according to the Qur'an, is forbidden and deemed to be blasphemy. The same prohibition applies to any idea of the duality of God (Allah).Griffith, Sidney H. Holy Spirit, Encyclopaedia of the Quran.Thomas Patrick Hughes, A Dictionary of Islam, p. 605.

Bahá'í Faith

The Bahá'í Faith has the concept of the Most Great Spirit, seen as the bounty of God.BOOK, `Abdu'l-Bahá, `Abdu'l-Bahá, 1981, Some Answered Questions, Bahá'í Publishing Trust, Wilmette, Illinois, USA, 0-87743-190-6,weblink The Holy Spirit, 108–109, 1904–06, It is usually used to describe the descent of the Spirit of God upon the messengers/prophets of God who include, among others, Jesus, Muhammad and Bahá'u'lláh.BOOK, Taherzadeh, Adib, Adib Taherzadeh, 1976, The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, Volume 1: Baghdad 1853–63, George Ronald, Oxford, UK, 0-85398-270-8, 10,weblink In Bahá'í belief, the Holy Spirit is the conduit through which the wisdom of God becomes directly associated with his messenger, and it has been described variously in different religions such as the burning bush to Moses, the sacred fire to Zoroaster, the dove to Jesus, the angel Gabriel to Muhammad, and the Maid of Heaven to Bahá'u'lláh.JOURNAL, Bahá'í Studies Review, 4, 1, 1994, Female Representations of the Holy Spirit in Bahá'í and Christian writings and their implications for gender roles,weblink Lil, Abdo, The Bahá'í view rejects the idea that the Holy Spirit is a partner to God in the Godhead, but rather is the pure essence of God's attributes.BOOK, `Abdu'l-Bahá, `Abdu'l-Bahá, 1981, Some Answered Questions, Bahá'í Publishing Trust, Wilmette, Illinois, USA, 0-87743-190-6,weblink The Trinity, 113–115, 1904–06,

Other religions

Other religions reference a spirit that has a name resembling the Holy Spirit found in the Christian and Jewish faiths, but similar to Islam, this is a different spirit with a different purpose that is unique to those religions, as is seen below:


The Hinduism concept of Advaita is linked to Trinity and has been briefly explained by Raimon Panikkar, Professor of Comparative Religion and History of Religions, Department of Religious Studies of the University of California. He states that the Holy Spirit, as one of the Three Persons of the Trinity of "father, Logos and Holy Spirit", is a bridge builder between Christianity and Hinduism. He explains that “The meeting of spiritualistic can take place in the Spirit. No new 'system' has primarily to come of this encounter, but a new and yet old spirit must emerges."BOOK, Camilia Gangasingh MacPherson, A Critical Reading of the Development of Raimon Panikkar's Thought on the Trinity,weblink 1996, University Press of America, 978-0-7618-0184-9, 41–32, Atman is Vedic terminology elaborated in Hindu scriptures such as Upanishads and Vedanta signifies the Ultimate Reality and Absolute.BOOK, Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen, Holy Spirit and Salvation,weblink 2010, Westminster John Knox Press, 978-0-664-23136-1, 431,


In Buddhism, Holy Spirit is compared to Buddha-nature as a Buddhist image or Christ consciousness, a oneness with an all encompassing plan. Hence, the Holy Spirit is considered the "means of which the faithful develop and journey to their spiritual goal."BOOK, Thomas Ragland, The Noble Eightfold Path of Christ: Jesus Teaches the Dharma of Buddhism,weblink 2003, Trafford Publishing, 978-1-4120-0013-0, 107,


In Sikhism, the Guru is the medium and the Holy spirit is stated to have moved from Guru Nanak to the nine Sikh Gurus who followed him culminating with Guru Gobind Singh, the "tenth Guru Nanak".BOOK, Kartar S. Duggal, Philosophy and Faith of Sikhism,weblink 1988, Himalayan Institute Press, 978-0-89389-109-1, 39,


In Zoroastrianism, the Holy Spirit, also known as Spenta Mainyu, is a hypostasis of Ahura Mazda, the supreme Creator God of Zoroastrianism; the Holy Spirit is seen as the source of all goodness in the universe, the spark of all life within humanity, and is the ultimate guide for humanity to righteousness and communion with God. The Holy Spirit is put in direct opposition to its eternal dual counterpart, Angra Mainyu, who is the source of all wickedness and who leads humanity astray.BOOK, Mary Boyce, Textual Sources for the Study of Zoroastrianism,weblink 1990, University of Chicago Press, 978-0-22606-930-2, 12, BOOK, Meena Iyer, Faith and Philosophy of Zoroastrianism,weblink 2009, Gyan Publishing House, 978-8-17835-724-9, 90,

See also

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Works cited

  • BOOK, Bultmann, Rudolf, Theology of the New Testament,weblink 2007, 1951, Grobel, Kendrick, Baylor University Press, Waco, 978-1-932792-93-5, 1, § 14. The Spirit: 1, harv,
  • BOOK, Konsmo, Erik, The Pauline Metaphors of the Holy Spirit: The Intangible Spirit's Tangible Presence in the Life of the Christian, 2010, Peter Lang, New York,weblink 978-1-4331-0691-0, harv,
  • BOOK, Marcus Aurelius, Marcus Aurelius, Meditations,weblink 1964, London, Penguin Books, 0-14044140-9,
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