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(949 words)

(πνεῦμα/pneûma; Lat. spiritus).

[German version]

A. General

The primary meaning of pneuma (< πνέω/pnéō, 'blow, waft') is wind or breath. In scientific and philosophical literature, the term gradually acquired a more technical meaning. In the Hellenistic and subsequent periods, pneuma is a central idea in a number of important medical and natural-philosophical (including theological) systems.

[German version]

B. Historical overview

As early as the 5th and 4th cents. BC, pneuma i…

Cite this page
Tieleman, Teun (Leeuwarden) and Büchli, Jörg (Zürich), “Pneuma”, in: Brill’s New Pauly, Antiquity volumes edited by: Hubert Cancik and , Helmuth Schneider, English Edition by: Christine F. Salazar, Classical Tradition volumes edited by: Manfred Landfester, English Edition by: Francis G. Gentry. Consulted online on 21 June 2021 <>
First published online: 2006
First print edition: 9789004122598, 20110510

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