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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. V:
A Treatise on the Soul and its Origin.: Chapter 17

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 17 [XII.]—A Twofold Question to Be Treated Concerning the Soul; Is It “Body”? and is It “Spirit”? What Body is.

And now, as far as the Lord vouchsafes to enable me, I must reply also to that allegation of yours, in which, speaking of the soul, you again mention my name, and say, “We do not, as the very able and learned bishop Augustin professes, allow it to be incorporeal and also a spirit.” We have therefore, first, to discuss the question, whether the soul is to be deemed incorporeal, as I have said; or corporeal, as you hold. Then, secondly, whether in our Scriptures it is called a spirit—although not the whole but its own separate part is also properly called spirit. 2478 Well, I should, to begin with, like to know how you define body. For if that is not “body” which does not consist of limbs of flesh, then the earth cannot be a body, nor the sky, nor a stone, nor water, nor the stars, nor anything of the kind. If, however, a “body” is whatever consists of parts, whether greater or less, which occupy greater or smaller local spaces, then all the things which I have just mentioned are bodies; the air is a body; the visible light is a body; and so are all the things which the apostle has in view, when he says, “There are celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial.” 2479



[The author seems here to have such texts as 1 Thess. v. 23 in mind (see below, chs. 19 and 36), and to mean that sometimes the whole inner man is called “spirit,” and sometimes “spirit” is distinguished from “soul.”—W.]


1 Cor. xv. 40.

Next: Chapter 18

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