Hebrew and Greek words for human soul?

What are the Hebrew words for soul?

That is things such as intellect, passions or emotions, will and that which animates us.

Also, what words did the LXX use to translate them?

I know that I am asking for a great deal.

Also, do those words of the LXX appear in the Greek New Testament?


I do not have the talent, time, resources and energy to find the answers.


The usual Hebrew word for soul is nephesh (נפש, Strong’s No. 5315), which occurs 754 times in various forms in the OT, according to the Bible Hub online concordance:


The usual translation in the Septuagint is psyche or psuche (ψυχη, Strong’s No. 5590). This word occurs 104 times in the NT, Bible Hub says:


There’s no equivalent word for soul in Biblical Hebrew—“soul” being an idea borrowed from Greek philosophy. The word nephesh is something like life/life-breath/life force.

pneuma is similar, which in Latin is translated spiritus - where we get “spirit” and “inspire” and “expire.” Those are “breath” words like nephesh. But usually pneuma is used to talk about the Holy Ghost rather than the human spirit - though I could be wrong on that, it’s been a while since I’ve read any New Testament Greek.


Yes, this is true. But pneuma is the word that is used for soul, and also has to do with breath. It’s where we get pneumonia.

And of course this fits. The human soul, being in the image of God, was said to have been “breathed” into man, by God.

You really have ruah, neshāmāh and nephesh. Ruaḥ is the ‘wind’ or ‘spirit’, with neshamah (‘breath’) being a close synonym in some texts, while the nefesh (often traditionally translated ‘soul’ or ‘life’) is the living individual, person or being as an indivisible whole (the Israelites, and a number of ancient cultures for that matter, didn’t really make a neat distinction between ‘body’ and ‘soul’ as we - influenced by Greek philosophy - do today; if you’re alive, you’re a living being, if you’re dead, you’re a lifeless corpse, with a pale replica/aspect/shadow of yourself - rephaim ‘shade’ - living in the underworld). God breathes the nishmath ḥayyîm (breath of life) into the man’s nostrils and the man becomes a nefesh ḥayyāh (living being) as a result.

457 and all


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