The Soul as a Biological Concept in the Hebrew Bible
The soul is often viewed as a spiritual concept which is immaterial and hence outside the realm of scientific inquiry. However, the Hebrew Bible repeatedly situates the nefesh (“soul” or “spirit”) in the blood of animals and humans, raising the possibility that this concept was part of a ‘folk biology.’ This understanding of the nefesh will be explored in relation to biblical laws, rituals and attitudes regarding the afterlife, which will challenge some conventional notions of the relationship between religion and science.
University of Haifa
Yitzhaq Feder is a lecturer in the Department of Biblical Studies at the University of Haifa. His research synthesizes the traditional philological study of ancient texts with the cognitive science of religions.