1. Sussomos (suvsswmo$) (adjective), “belonging to the same body.” 2. Somatikos (swmatikov$) (adjective), “bodily, pertaining to the body.” 3. Somatikos (swmatikw~$) (adverb), “bodily, in bodily form.”
1. The original definition of soma is uncertain. 2. It first appears in Homer meaning a dead body of a man or animal, corpse or carcass. 3. It retained this meaning into the 5th century B.C., when it began to be used in the sense of torso, the whole
body and by extension the whole person (Herodotus 2, 66, 4).
4. In the pre-Socratic writers it has the meaning of element, figure, corresponding to the basic sense of the
5. As the idea developed of the soul alongside of the body, the body came to be regarded as a chain or grave,
that which is mortal as distinct form the immortal soul.
6. These ideas were further developed in Plato. 7. The body is only the abode of the pre-existent soul. 8. Death frees the soul from the body (Phdr. 64c, 67a; Grg. 524b). 9. The picture of the body was also applied to the cosmos. 10. The latter is ruled and directed by the divine soul. 11. Zeus conceals everything in himself and lets it all proceed from himself (Orphicorum Fragmenta 21a). 12. Long before Plato the idea of kinship between the human body and the cosmos came to expression. 13. That the cosmos is a living unity, an organic creature is also asserted. 14. Shortly before Plato Democritus formulated his famous principle in Fr. 34 that man is a microcosm. 15. If in looser statements the cosmos is depicted after the pattern of man, in philosophical thought man is
16. The common idea that the elements of the human body are taken from the cosmos (Xenophon Mem. I, 4, 8;
Plato Phileb. 29a-e, where the cosmos is expressly said to be first.
17. In Aristotle soma is, of course, primarily the human body, whether with a head or as the trunk contrasted
with the head (Probl. 2, 6, p. 867a, 4 f).
18. It is composed of different things, and mixture charcterizes it. 19. In contrast to Plato, however, the body is primary and is viewed as existing before the soul (Pol. VII, 15, p.
20. But this does not mean that it is superior, with the soul the eminent part (Gen. An. II, 1, p. 731b, 28 f). 21. Aristotle also used the soma in the sense of an organism to explain the character of the state (Pol. 1, 2; 5,
22. He also used it of the “elements.” 23. The Stoics continued to maintain the traditional dichotomy of body and soul. 24. Strictly speaking, Epictetus drew a distinction between the soul and the flesh, rather than the body. 25. The soul is the animating principle, whose seat can be the head just as much as the heart. 26. The soul permeates the whole body and conveys its sense impressions. 27. But the basic idea of wholeness in soma remained decisive. 28. Even the Stoic philosopher-emperor Marcus Aurelius could say of the tripartite conception of man: “There
are three parts of which you are composed: body, pneuma (spirit) and nous (mind, reason)”.
29. Chryssipus employed soma in its normal usage where it is the body as distinct from the soul (Fr. 471). 30. The ekklesia was thought of as a soma (Chrysipp. Fr. 367). 31. The cosmos is also a constituted soma of this kind, though strictly it belongs to the first group. 32. In Stoicism, too, it is a living entity. 33. As such it is a perfect soma whose unity is everywhere given special emphasis. 34. It is not only created by God but also governed by Him as the world-soul. 35. It is the dwelling of gods and men. 36. Indeed the cosmos is God. 37. Soma was used in later Stoicism for the human body, the head being the most important member. 38. It was also used in later Stoicism for the divine body of heaven.
39. Plutarch who was a collector various traditions thought of soma as the human body or just the trunk as
40. Then it is the person, especially corporeally, an object of desire erotically. 41. It could even be man’s ego 42. In Plutarch the body is three-dimensional and limited. 43. Soma was also used of music in regards to its structure. 44. Caesar is said to be clothed with the power of the army hossoma, and Galba is called upon to take over
leadership and to offer himself to the Gauls as to a strong body seeking a head.
45. Liddel and Scott lists the following (Greek-English Lexicon New Edition, page 1749):
a. Body b. The living body c. Body opposed to spirit and soul d. Animal
f. A person, human being g. Generally, a body, i.e. any corporeal substance h. Element, metallic substance i. Math. Figure of three dimensions, solid j. The body or whole of a thing, especially of complete parts of the body
1. There is no Hebrew equivalent in the OT corresponding to the Greek idea of soma. 2. In the LXX soma is used to denote the range of ideas conveyed by the Hebrew basar (rc*B*), “flesh,”
signifying man in his individual corporeality.
3. This is distinct from sarx, “flesh,” denoting man or even humanity in their creatureliness. 4. Soma can mean corpse (1 S. 31:10, 12), dead body (Dt. 21:23; Is. 5:25) and even back (1 K. 14:9; Is.
5. But the basic meaning is the body in the sense of the whole person (cf. Le. 15:11, 16, 19; 16:4; 19:28). 6. Soma in the OT has virtually the sense of person, though this is not to be confused with personality. 7. There is no sense of his standing at a distance form himself or regarding his corporeality as something
8. Even angels have somata (Ezek. 1:11, 23; Dan. 10:6), thus both earthly existence and heavenly existence
9. Soma, then, does not suggest an earthly sphere in contrast to heavenly. 10. Nor, is there an anthropological dualism in the OT canon which would oppose the soul or mind to the body
1. Soma in the NT reflects the wide range of meaning which it had in Greek generally as well as in OT
2. It means corpse in Mt. 27:52; Lk. 17:37. 3. It is used of the body of Jesus (Mt. 27:58; Mk. 15:43; Lk. 23:52; 23:55; Jn. 19:31. 4. The thought that a dead body can be raised to life (Mt. 27:52) stands behind the expression “temple of His body” (naos tou somatos autou) (Jn. 2:21).
5. This is the only instance in the Johannine writings where soma does not mean dead body or slave (cf. Rv.
6. It is notable that soma is never used in the NT for in inorganic body. 7. The body experiences sickness and healing (Mk. 5:29) or that it needs food and clothing (Jm. 2:16). 8. This is also keeping with its common usage. 9. The formula for washing the body in Hebrews 10:22 is technical. 10. Along the lines of OT thinking the body is regarded as that in which a man has his true life and proves
himself and will one day come to heaven or the lake of fire.
11. The soul animates the body and the body is separeated from the soul at death. 12. The man is called soma in his experience of death and resurrection. 13. The emphasis, however, is on the fact that Jesus consciously offered up His body in sacrifice. 14. This is a new use for which there are scarcely any parallels. 15. In Paul soma has a specialized meaning in the sense of person. 16. Human existence-even in the sphere of the pneuma-is a bodily, somatic experience.
17. It is un-Pauline like to think of the body merely as a figure or form. 18. Romans 12:1 uses soma of the whole person submitting himself in obediene to God’s will. 19. It is used of the physical body in 1 C. 5:3; 7:34. 20. He refers to the trichotomous state of the believer in 1 Th. 5:23. 21. The word is used metaphorically for the relationship between Christ and the church and the relation of the
members of the church to each other in 1 Corinthians 12:12-27.
22. The body is mentioned in connection with sex in Romans 4:19 and in 1 Corinthians 7:4. 23. Bodily acts affect not only the individual act of sin bu the whole person to his innermost being (cf. 1 C.
24. Paul’s understanding of soma as “I,” as a “person,” as distinct from the sarx, “flesh” is illustrated in
25. The believer’s physical body will die but will receive a resurrection body (1 C. 15:35-57). 26. The church age believer’s resurrection body will be like the resurrection body of Christ (Phlp. 3:21). 27. The resurrected body of the Lord Jesus Christ serves as the model for the resurrected body of the believer. 28. Every church age believer will receive a resurrection body at the rapture of the church (1 John 3:2). 29. The omnipotence of the Lord Jesus Christ will be responsible for the believer’s new resurrection body
30. The resurrection of the church is a part of the mystery doctrine for the church age (1 Cor. 15:51-53). 31. We will have a resurrection body like our Lord’s (1 John 3:2). 32. The same power that raised the humanity of Christ from the dead will raise every church age believer from
33. The believer’s physical body is a body of humiliation compared to the resurrection body which is called the
“body of His glory” (Phil. 3:21).
34. The resurrection body will be composed of flesh and bones and will not have blood as the phyiscal body
now has (Lk. 24:39), but will be composed of flesh, bones and spirit.
35. The resurrection body will have a different moleculor structure which will enable it to walk through walls
36. It will be able to leave the earth vertically as our Lord did in Acts 1:9. 37. It will be able to travel through space in an instant and appear in heaven. 38. The believer will still be able to eat and drink in a resurrection body (Luke 24:42-43). 39. The resurrection body will never get tired or sick and will minus the old sin nature. 40. It will be a spiritual body with flesh and bones (1 Cor. 15:35-50). 41. It will be an imperishable body and not like the one believer’s now have (1 Cor. 15:52). 42. The resurrection body will be immortal (1 Cor. 15:53). 43. The believer’s resurrection body is a result of our Lord’s victory over death at the Cross (1 Cor. 15:57). 44. Our Lord delivered us from the fear of death (Heb. 2:14-15). 45. The believer in a resurrection body will no longer be able to sin because it will be minus the old sin nature
which tempts the believer to commit acts of sin-mental, verbal and overt.
46. The resurrection body will be an eternal monument to the grace policy of God. 47. All church age believers will receive a resurrection body regardless of whether or not they were a winner in
48. The only requirement for receiving a resurrection body is believing on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. 49. Faith alone in Christ alone is the means of receiving a resurrection body. 50. It only takes 1 non-meritorious decision to receive a resurrection body. 51. The believer who makes thousands of non-meritorious decisions in time will receive greater rewards to
52. Paul uses the Stellar Universe analogy to illustrate the fact that there will be varieties of resurrection bodies
53. The winners in time will receive a resurrection body plus their inheritance while the losers in time who
failed to execute the plan of God will receive only a resurrection body.
54. The resurrection body will be totally governed by the Spirit, made alive and sustained by the eternal living
55. The Christology of the NT affirms that during His 1st Advent Christ had a human body (Col. 2:9; cf. 1:19;
56. It is spoken of literally during His ministry He spoke of the “temple of His body” (J. 2:21). 57. Joseph of Arimathea asked for his literal physical body in Matthew 27:58.
58. The woman did not find it when they went to the tomb (Lk. 24:3; cf. John 20:12). 59. Figuratively, the Lord Jesus spoke of the bread of the Last Supper as representative of His body (Mt.
60. The literal and figurative intersect on other occasions (1 C. 10:16). 61. The noun soma is used of the church, which as the human body has diversity among its members (R. 12:4
62. Christ is said to be the Head of the Body (Eph. 1:22; 4:15; 5:23; Col. 1:18; 2:19) and each church age
believer is a member of His body (Rm. 12:4-5; 1 C. 12:27).
63. The Analytical Greek Lexicon Revised lists the following NT meanings (pages 395-396):
a. The body of an animal b. A living body c. A person, individual d. A dead body, corpse, carcase e. The human body considered as the seat and occasion of moral imperfection, as inducing to sin through
f. Generally, a body, material substance g. The substance, reality h. Metaphorically, the aggregate body of believers, the body of the church
64. The New Thayers Greek-English Lexicon lists the following (page 611):
a. The body both of men and of animals b. The name is transferred to the bodies of plants and of stars, celestial bodies c. Used of a number of men closely united into one society or family as it were; a social, ethical, mystical
d. The thing itself which casts a shadow
65. Bauer, Gingrich and Danker lists the following (A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other
Early Christian Literature, pages 799-800): a. Body of man or animal b. Dead body, corpse c. The living body d. Plural
e. Bodies of plants and stars f. Of the body that casts a shadow g. The Christian community, the church as a unified body
66. Louw and Nida have compiled the following NT meanings (Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament
Based on Semantic Domains, volume 2): a. The physical body of persons, animals or plants either dead or alive – ‘body’ (page 93). b. A person as a physical being, including natural desires – ‘self, physical being’ (page 105). c. Believers in Christ who are joined together as a group, with the implication of each having a distinctive
function within the group – ‘congregation, Christian group, church’ (page 127).
d. A slave as property to be sold, with the probable implication of commerce – ‘slave’ (page 741). e. An entity which corresponds to an archetype or foreshadowing – ‘reality, corresponding reality’ (page
67. Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, “soma is "the body as a whole, the instrument of life,"
whether of man living, e. g., (Matt. 6:22), or dead, (Matt. 27:52); or in resurrection, (1 Cor. 15:44); or of beasts, (Heb. 13:11); of grain, (1 Cor. 15:37-38); of the heavenly hosts, (1 Cor. 15:40). In (Rev. 18:13) it is translated "slaves." In its figurative uses the essential idea is preserved. Sometimes the word stands, by synecdoche, for "the complete man," (Matt. 5:29; 6:22; Rom. 12:1; Jas. 3:6; Rev. 18:13). Sometimes the person is identified with his or her "body," (Acts 9:37; 13:36), and this is so even of the Lord Jesus, (John 19:40) with (42). The "body" is not the man, for he himself can exist apart from his "body," (2 Cor. 12:2-3). The "body" is an essential part of the man and therefore the redeemed are not perfected till the resurrection, (Heb. 11:40); no man in his final state will be without his "body," (John 5:28-29; Rev. 20:13). The word is also used for physical nature, as distinct from pneuma, "the spiritual nature," e. g., (1 Cor. 5:3), and from psuche, "the soul," e. g., (1 Thes. 5:23). "Soma, `body,' and pneuma, `spirit,' may be separated; pneuma and psuche, `soul,' can only be distinguished" (Cremer). It is also used metaphorically, of the mystic body of Christ, with reference to the whole church, e. g., (Eph. 1:23; Col. 1:18,22,24); also of a local church, (1 Cor. 12:27).”
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