Karchagin E.V. Semantic Meanings of Energy Notion in the Text of the New Testament

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/lp.jvolsu.2022.3.2

Evgeniy V. Karchagin
Doctor of Sciences (Philosophy), Professor, Head of the Department of Philosophy, Sociology and Psychology, Volgograd State Technical University
Academicheskaya St, 1, 400074 Volgograd, Russian Federation
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https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7398-9292


Abstract. The article discusses the semantic features of the concept of energy (dνέργεια) in the New Testament. The roots and semantic unfolding of the concept of energy in Aristotle's philosophy and in the late ancient and medieval philosophy are shown. The word energy first appears in the writings of Aristotle. Its etymological meaning is related to "work" (τ' hργον) and "entelechy" (dντελέχια), while the philosophical meaning refers to activity (energy as opposed to movement) and actuality (energy as opposed to possibility). The religious meanings of energy have been developed in Neoplatonic philosophy and Eastern Christian theology. The New Testament as the main Christian source contains significant meanings of the concept of energy. The root *dνέργ – occurs thirty times, while all cases with the noun refer to texts attributed to the Apostle Paul. Hermeneutical analysis of all New Testament meanings of energy is carried out. The influence of Paulian thought on the patristic tradition is discussed. The revealed New Testament meanings of energy do not contain an internal contradiction. Although they are not characterized by conceptual perfection, all meanings are directly or indirectly related to the supernatural principle and are not used to denote actions of a purely human and natural actions. At the same time, the main semantic regularity in the text of the New Testament is connected with the Aristotelian pair "dνέργεια – δύναμις". This is explained by the generally accepted "common sense" formed in the post-Aristotelian era and indirectly by the Aristotelian basic distinction. Thus the New Testament meanings of energy belong to the Aristotelian paradigm. While the subsequent eastern patristic thought concentrates on the pair "ošσία – dνέργεια" and can be attributed to the Neoplatonic philosophical paradigm.
Key words: energy, New Testament, Apostle Paul, Paulian tradition, Christian theology, medieval philosophy.

Citation. Karchagin E.V. Semantic Meanings of Energy Notion in the Text of the New Testament. Logos et Praxis, 2022, vol. 21, no. 3, pp. 17-24. (in Russian). DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/lp.jvolsu.2022.3.2

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