In academic theological circles, the phrase “theology of the Holy Spirit” is not often spoken; instead, the extremely fancy word pneumatology takes its place. Pneumatology comes from two Greek words, as so many things in academia do. Pneuma, or πνεῦμα, meaning “breath,” “soul” or “spirit.” See 2 Samuel 23, verses 1-2 .
Now these are the last words of David: The oracle of David, son of Jesse…
The spirit of the LORD speaks through me, his word is upon my tongue.
“Spirit” is translated from the Hebrew word for “wind” or “breath” of God, which the Septuagint (the Greek Bible used for centuries by Jews and Christians alike) translated as “pneuma.” In the same passage, we see logos, meaning “word” or , in modern terms, “study of.” As you likely already know, logos becomes a very important subject within theology as the Christian world expanded, largely due to the beginning of John’s Gospel: Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος…In arke ein o logos—In the beginning was the word…but I digress.
Pneumatology, in Christian theology, has come to be known as the study of the Holy Spirit, making this Theological Shark Week more properly called a Pneumatological Shark Week.
In the realm of theology, pneumatological is one of those words that just feels intelligent. Try it at your next meal with friends–
“What a surprising Pentecost Mass! The pneumatological implications of the homily were astounding!”
Or, in counseling troubled Christians:
“I think your pneumatology needs attending to…”
Or, perhaps, in disciplining children:
“You need to understood the pneumatological effects of pushing your brother!”
Really, I have no idea where that would lead, but it would certainly confuse the child while you come up with a better punishment idea!
Anyhow….as erudite as it may sound, pneumatology is a simple and quite personal branch of theology: the academic study and reflection upon the Holy Spirit. This week, in honor of Pentecost Sunday, Daily Theology brings you seven days of reflections upon this Third Person of the Trinity, so be sure to check in every day to assist your own journey towards pneumatological understanding.
Here’s the lineup!
As always, we look forward to being in conversation with you this week!