What is pneumatology


(Greek pneuma: breath, wind). The term P. is used in several senses. The Greek philosophy initially understood pneuma to be a materially thought elementary life force (Aristotle). Gnosis spiritualized the concept. The sarx (flesh) was contrasted with the pneuma as a spiritual substance of the human being, which comes from the divine realm, and the P. thus the doctrine of the pneumatic nature of the human being. In the metaphysics of the 17th century (J. H. Alsted) the P. developed into a theory of rational and materialless spirits (God, angels, souls of people), which Kant then resolved as "fiction". Since then, the topics dealt with by a philosophical P. fall mainly under the terms spiritualism and spiritualism. Today P. is primarily at home in theology, where pneuma both the inner life principle of man (in Hebrew OT "ruach", translated from the Septuagint as "pneuma") and the power of God (Spirit of God, Holy Spirit , especially in the NT). In narrow terms, P. is the part of dogmatics that deals with the Holy Spirit as one of the three persons of God.


  • J. Comblin: The Holy Spirit. Düsseldorf 1988
  • J. Moltmann: The spirit of life. A holistic pneumatology. Gütersloh 1991.