Subrosa - The idea of a progressive understanding between the Old and New Testaments concerning the nature of the afterlife is discussed in the article “A Catholic Critique of Jehovah’s Witnesses”, viewable here: catholic-forum.com/members/popestleo/cathjw.html
I’m quoting part of it here:
“It is only at the very end of the Old Testament period that the Jews were given any clear-cut revelation concerning the nature of life after death.The most explicit references to this occur in those books which the Witnesses exclude from their translation of the Old Testament–books,however, which modern Scripture scholars admit are necessary forunderstanding the progress of revelation from the Old Testament to the New…”
Concerning Ecclesiastes 9:5:, much of Ecclesiastes is apparantly written from an “under the sun” viewpoint; ignoring that fact can lead to taking individual statements out of context - and this verse is an example:
“For the living are conscious that they will die; but as for the dead, they are conscious of nothing at all, neither do they anymore have wages, because the remembrance of them has been forgotten.” (NWT)
JWs use this for a proof text for non-existence after death, by taking literally the part **“the dead, they are conscious of nothing at all”, **but not taking literally “neither do they anymore have wages” (“they have no more reward”, RSV) or “the remembrance of them has been forgotten”. The JW interpretation of this verse “changes horses in midstream”, taking part of it literally and part not; when all elements of the passage are considered together, it is obvious that it is not meant to be taken literally.
Suggestions in the OT that man “has” a soul that is more than just the “whole person” (as JWs claim):
2 Samuel 11:11: Uri’ah said to David, “The ark and Israel and Judah dwell in booths; and my lord Jo’ab and the servants of my lord are camping in the open field; shall I then go to my house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? As you live, and as your soul lives, I will not do this thing.”
1 Kings 17:21-22: Then he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried to the LORD, “O LORD my God, let this child’s soul come into him again: And the LORD hearkened to the voice of Eli’jah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived.”
**Genesis 35:18-19: **And as her soul was departing (for she died), she called his name Ben-o’ni; but his father called his name Benjamin. So Rachel died, and she was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem),
The incident with Saul and the medium of Endor (1 Samuel 28:7-25) shows that a belief in a conscious existence after death was at least current in Saul’s time (the JW argument to this involves questioning details of the account; but the point remains that belief in an afterlife must have been current, or the incident would have never occured).
Concerning the definition of the word “soul”, the CCC #363 says:
“In Sacred Scripture the term “soul” often refers to human life or the entire human person. But “soul” also refers to the innermost aspect of man, that which is of greatest value in him, that by which he is most especially in God’s image: “soul” signifies the spiritual principle in man.”
Where JWs (and other adventist-type groups) err is by concentrating on the scriptures that use “soul” to mean ‘the entire human person’ (one of the valid definitions), but ignoring, or adopting a forced or truncated interpretation, of scriptures that use the word in another way.