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(949 words)

Author(s): Tieleman, Teun (Leeuwarden) | Büchli, Jörg (Zürich)
(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. Tieleman, Teun (Leeuwarden) [German version] B. Historical overview As early as the 5th and 4th cents. BC, pneuma is used as an explanatory principle for physiological processes…