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Genesis 2:7 uses 'the breath of life' (God's breath) to make man into a 'living soul.'

And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul (Genesis 2:7, KJV).

Is this a good translation of the text? Was this kind of imagery involving the breath of a deity common in early ANE literature? Were 'souls' associated with 'the breath of life' or similar concepts in Semitic cultures during the time this text was written? What further cultural and historical information from the time period and setting in which this text was written sheds further light on the meaning of this clause?

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Let me know if this reformulation of your question is acceptable. –  Dan Jan 29 at 15:27
Hey the reformating is very fine and thanks for your clarifications. I really appreciate! –  Musa Khonje Jan 30 at 7:02
glad to hear, the question is now reopened. –  Dan Jan 30 at 17:23
Dan - you don't think it is going to take a book to answer this question? –  JLB Jan 31 at 1:14
@JLB I actually wondered that myself (and folks are free to vote to close on the basis it is too broad), but I wouldn't be comfortable making that call on my own. Even so, I think someone could answer this well with a somewhat longer but focused response. –  Dan Jan 31 at 17:34

1 Answer 1

In comparing to the original Hebrew, this verse appears to be accurately translated.

The bible often makes physical/anatomical references in relation to G-d. Such references are allegorical in nature, since G-d is spiritual, and cannot be 'literally' described.

One of the oldest Jewish texts of Kabbalah (the Zohar) quotes this verse, and explains the allegorical connection:

“He who blows [breath], blows [breath] from within him,”

The short phrase by the Zohar classically describes the meaning of the verse, in that when one (human) blows their breath, they blow their innermost essence (ever try blowing heavily..). Likewise, the verse comes to teach that G-d blew his innermost essence into Adam.

Hope this helps.

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This post does not cite any references or sources. Please help improve this post by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.

Welcome to Biblical Hermeneutics Stack Exchange! Be sure to take our site tour to learn more about us. Thanks for stopping by! Could you add a specific reference so we can verify your claims (i.e. a specific place in the Zohar we can find this quote and and please show work for your first couple assertions by either giving additional references or citing sources for the claims)? –  Dan Jan 31 at 22:53

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