Original Research

Soul and body: Transcending the dialectical intellectual legacy of the West with an integral biblical view?

Danie Strauss
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 48, No 1 | a1815 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v48i1.1815 | © 2014 Danie Strauss | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 03 March 2014 | Published: 19 December 2014

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Danie Strauss, School of Philosophy, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, South Africa


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Abstract

Greek philosophy informed the Medieval dualistic understanding of ‘body’ and ‘soul’, which continued to influence modern Humanism and Christian views during and after the Middle Ages. These fluctuating conceptions express the directing role of dialectical basic motives. It was mainly the Greek motive of matter and form which directed the thought of Plato and Aristotle, resulting in a dualistic view of the relationship between a so-called material body and rational soul. At the Council of Vienne (1312), the Aristotelian-Thomistic doctrine of the soul as the substantial form of the body was adopted. Within Protestant circles, the‘two-substances’ view caused a distinction between a (temporal) material body and an (eternal) rational soul (see article 7 of the Swiss Confessio Helvetica Posterior and the Westminster Confession Chapter 4, paragraph 2). Dooyeweerd shows how modern philosophy has received its deepest motivation from the dialectical motive of nature and freedom, which informed the development from Descartes up to Gould and Jaspers. Finally, in the last sections, the main contours of a biblically informed view are articulated with reference to the centrality of the human I-ness, to the theory of enkaptic interlacements and to the problem of supra-temporality.

Siel en liggaam: Is dit moontlik om die dialektiese intellektuele erfenis van die Westevanuit ‘n integrale bybelse siening te bowe te kom? Die Griekse filosofie vorm die agtergrond van die Middeleeuse dualistiese verstaan van ‘liggaam’ en ‘siel’ wat op sy beurt die moderne Humanisme en latere Christelike opvattinge beïnvloed het – almal in die greep van dialektiese grondmotiewe. Dit was hoofsaaklik die Griekse basiese vorm-materie-motief wat die dualistiese siening van ’n materie-liggaam en ’n redelike siel tot gevolg gehad het, soos dit in die denke van Plato en Aristoteles beslag gekry het. By die Konsilie van Wenen (1312) is die Aristotelies-Thomistiese leerstuk van die siel as substansiële vorm van die liggaam aanvaar. In Protestantse kringe het die ‘twee substansies’-siening tot die onderskeiding tussen ’n (tydelike) materie-liggaam en ’n (ewige) redelike siel (vgl. artikel 7 van die Switserse Confessio Helvetica Posterior en die Westminster Confession Hoofstuk 4, paragraaf 2) aanleiding gegee. Dooyeweerd toon aan hoedanig die moderne filosofie sy diepste motivering vanuit die dialektiese grondmotief van natuur en vryheid ontvang, wat rigting sou gee aan diedialektiese ontwikkeling vanaf Descartes tot en met Gould en Jaspers. Aan die einde word die hoof-kontoere van ’n bybels-geïnspireerde siening geartikuleer, met verwysing na die sentrale posisie van die menslike selfheid, na die teorie van enkaptiese struktuurvervlegting en na die probleem van bo-tydelikheid.


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