Faith and Philosophy 26 (5):599-614 (2009)

Some biblical texts suggest that man consists of two parts—body and soul—whereas others seem to indicate instead three parts—body, soul, and spirit. This paper examines how the Church Fathers dealt with this apparent contradiction. It finds that although they generally favor the body-soul dichotomy, they did not see it as contradicting a trichotomous view, for “spirit” can be interpreted in a number of ways: as another term for the soul, or as the lowest imaginative part of the soul, or as its highest rational part, or as the grace of the Holy Spirit. Different approaches can be found in different patristic authors depending on their theological interests and the biblical passages at issue
Keywords Contemporary Philosophy  Philosophy and Religion
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ISBN(s) 0739-7046
DOI 10.5840/faithphil200926559
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