The subject of this monograph is the use of the words for "spirit," "soul," and "flesh" in the ancient Greek and Hebrew writers.
The ground, especially of the first two chapters, has often been covered more or less fully, and the present writer makes no claim to be adding significantly to the sum of human knowledge in this territory. He writes, indeed, after diligent and repeated study extending over years, but with a consciousness of the vastness of the field and of the complexity of the problem, made more difficult by its ramification into many related fields, which bars any but the most modest claims. He has not undertaken to write a history of the psychology and anthropology of the Semites and the Greeks, desirable as such a history would be as a basis for the study of the ideas of the New Testament writers on this subject. In full recognition of the fact that the meanings of words can never be dealt with adequately except in connection with the history of thought, these studies nevertheless decline the larger task and limit themselves to an attempt to set forth from the point of view of lexicography the usage of the three important words named above. They justify themselves in the mind of the writer by two considerations. First, even such a study as is here made of the usage of the words in literature older than the New Testament books, or approximately contemporaneous with them, is a useful foundation for the study of New Testament usage and ideas; and second, such an assembling of the linguistic evidence as is possible in a lexicographical study may, by furnishing the material for it, facilitate the more adequate study of the history of ancient thought in the field of psychology or anthropology.