What might a Pagan have understood by "Holy Spirit"?

Strelan, Rick (2010) What might a Pagan have understood by "Holy Spirit"?. Colloquium, 42 2: 151-172.

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Author Strelan, Rick
Title What might a Pagan have understood by "Holy Spirit"?
Journal name Colloquium
ISSN 0588-3237
Publication date 2010-11
Sub-type Article (original research)
Volume 42
Issue 2
Start page 151
End page 172
Total pages 22
Editor Nicola Hoggard Creegan
Tim Meadowcroft
Place of publication Murdoch, WA, Australia
Publisher Australian and New Zealand Society for Theological Studies
Collection year 2011
Language eng
Formatted abstract
When those strange twelve disciples in Ephesus told Paul that they had not even heard that there is a “holy spirit” (πνεῦμα ἅγιον, Acts 19:2), I admit to some incredulity. Surely, that can’t be right: Any “disciple” (Acts 19:1) who had any instruction in the Way of Jesus must have heard of a “holy spirit”! This paper suggests any incredulity ought to be tempered because there might well have been some associated with the Jesus movement who did not know that there was such a pneuma; and among those who did, there was a wide range of understandings of the term.

I have three aims in this paper. First of all, I will briefly outline some current positions in scholarship on “holy spirit” in Acts, and suggest that more attention could be given to the “holy” factor; in doing so I will outline usages of the term in Jewish literature. Secondly, I want to explore how such a “Jewish” term might have been heard by Greek-speaking pagans who did at least know the individual words πνεῦμα (“spirit”) and ἅγιον (“holy”). Finally, I want to explore briefly the experience itself of being “filled with holy spirit,” with a particular interest in the physical effects of that experience. Again, the focus is on how a pagan might have understood such experiences and behaviour.

The article outlines the perspectives of scholarships in Holy Spirits in Acts 19:2, the more attention given to holy factor and the usages of the term in Jewish literature. It explores on how Jewish term might heard by Greek-speaking pagans. It describes the experience of being filled with holy spirit focusing its physical effects.
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Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2011 Collection
School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry
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Created: Tue, 22 Mar 2011, 13:49:11 EST by Rick Strelan on behalf of School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry