Biblical scholars have long claimed that the Israelites "could not conceive of a disembodied nefesh [soul]." In this book, Richard C. Steiner rejects that claim based on a broad spectrum of textual, linguistic, archaeological, and anthropological evidence spanning the millennia from prehistoric times to the present. The biblical evidence includes a prophecy of Ezekiel condemning women who pretend to trap the wandering souls of sleeping people--a prophecy that has been only partially understood until now because of the obscure technical terms that it contains. The extrabiblical evidence suggests that a belief in the existence of disembodied souls was part of the common religious heritage of the peoples of the ancient Near East.
About the author (2015)
Richard C. Steiner is Professor of Semitic Languages and Literature at Yeshiva University and Honorary Member of the Academy of the Hebrew Language in Israel.