Created 12/13 03:48 PM Modified 10/03 03:01 PM
CAN SPIRITUALITY BE DEFINED?

NEIL GREENBERG
for
UNIVERSITY STUDIES INTERDISCIPLINARY COLLOQUY ON
SPIRITUALITY AND CRITICAL INQUIRY

October 8, 2008
University of Tennessee
University Center room 209

notes & resources for a spirited discussion



Multiple web-accessed dictionaries:

Nursing - spirituality Religious - spirituality


... must we all agree? ... everytime? ...
"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines."
With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall…”
Emerson - Self Reliance p57


Characteristics of Spirituality

A working definition to invite or enable the ethological perspective (from Ethology and Sociobiology teaching notes on "Spirit")


Goethe's View of the relationship of science to spirit. "...it is interesting to note that Goethe, whose scientific contributions have been unjustly overshadowed because of his colossal achievements in literature and the arts, felt upset with what he believed to be the limitations of Newtonian physics. For Goethe, “science is as much an inner path of spiritual development as it is a discipline aimed at accumulating knowledge of the physical world. It involves not only a rigorous training of our faculties of observation and thinking, but also of other human faculties which can attune us to the spiritual dimension that underlies and interpenetrates the physical: faculties such as feeling, imagination and intuition. Science, as Goethe conceived and practiced it, has as its highest goal the arousal of the feeling of wonder through contemplative looking (Anschauung), in which the scientist would come to see God in nature and nature in God” (Naydler, 2000).


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Attention Christian Bible literalists: SARX vs PNEUMA One of the most prominent recurring themes in Paul's writings is the contrast between the flesh and the spirit. In the original Greek manuscripts of Paul's letters, the Greek word SARX appears over ninety times. This word is most often translated as "flesh" and represents the physical, literal, carnal viewpoint. The opposite of the word SARX is the word PNEUMOS. This word appears over one hundred and thirty times in Paul's writings and is translated as "spirit". The PNEUMOS represents the spiritual, non-physical, symbolic view. One of the best examples illustrating this contrast between the fleshly, literal outlook and the non -physical, spiritual perspective can be found in the epistle that Paul wrote to the Christians of Rome. In this letter he declared: "there is therefore now no condemnation to those... who do not walk according to the flesh (SARX), but according to the Spirit (PNEUMOS)... for the mind of the flesh (SARX) is death; but the mind of the Spirit (PHRONEMA TOU PNEUMATOS) is life and peace; because of this the mind of the flesh (SARX) is enmity towards God... those in the flesh (SARX) are not able to please God... if anyone has not the Spirit (PNEUMOS) of Christ, this one is not His... for as many as are led by the Spirit (PNEUMOS) of God, these are sons of God." -Romans 8 (Interlinear Bible)

When Paul spoke of "those in the flesh [who] are not able to please God", he certainly was not implying that anyone who has a physical, fleshly body can't please God. Instead, he's referring to the "mind of the flesh (SARX)"... the fleshly, literal attitudes, interpretations and ways of thinking which "are not able to please God". It is the "mind of the flesh" - being literal minded which is "death." It is the "mind of the spirit" - having a spiritual viewpoint which "is life".To make absolutely certain that Christians don't miss this important point, Paul repeats it again in another passage. He wrote: "God made us able ministers of a new covenant; not of letter, but of Spirit (PNEUMOS). For the letter [the literal] kills, but the Spirit makes alive." -2 Corinthians 3:6 (Interlinear Bible) The literal "kills". The "mind of the flesh" is "death". But seeing things in terms of their spiritual meanings breathes life into them and fosters true understanding.It was to these kinds of literal minded people that Jesus was referring when he said "seeing they do not see and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand". Literal interpretation misleads and results in spiritual blindness and death. Paul's analysis of this problem proved to be frighteningly accurate. As witnessed by later developments, this literal, fleshly method of interpretation resulted in the deaths of John the Baptist, Jesus, Peter, Paul, the rest of the Apostles and thousands... perhaps even millions of other Christians throughout history.

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how do we speak of the
ineffable?


MYSTICISM WEB RESOURCE PAGE
http://www.religiousworlds.com/mystic/index.html





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12/2007