PTOCOI PNEUMATI (was re: Heb 13:5)

From: Jeffrey B. Gibson (
Date: Sat Jan 08 2000 - 11:22:57 EST

"Carl W. Conrad" wrote:

> At 10:26 AM -0600 1/8/00, Dmitriy Reznik wrote:
> >Dear friends,
> >My another question is about an expression PTOCOI PNEUMATI (Mat 5:3). Can
> >anybody shed any light what this means? Is there any real information and
> >not just theological guesses?
> You may get quite a variety of answers to this one; my "2-cents-worth" is
> that one really needs to become familiar with the whole spirit of Matthew's
> "Jewish Christianity" or "intense passion for the higher righteousness" in
> order to make sense of the phrase PTWCOI PNEUMATI. I've always thought that
> the single most 'inspired' version or paraphrase of the beatitude
> containing this phrase was, "Blessed are they who know their own spiritual
> poverty ..."

List members may be interested to know that we had a dust up on XTalk on
the meaning
of PTOCOI PNEUMATI earlier this past Summer. The discussion is there in
our archives,
and accessible to non XTalk members, under (I believe) the title "poor
in Spirit".
(follow the links to the archives on the XTalk home page at I note
that what you'll find there from me is an argument, based upon the usage
of phrases
identical with or approximating the Matthean phrase, PTOCOI PNEUMATI
has a titular
sense roughly if not exactly equivalent to "we, the elect, the faithful
those who in times of persecution remain loyal to the covenant" and has
little to do
with economic status, let alone any kind of "spiritual" impoverishment
that could actually mean, and which I suspect is an anachronism as it
conceptions of piety and individualism that were not part of the 1st


Jeffrey Gibson

Jeffrey B. Gibson
7423 N. Sheridan Road #2A
Chicago, Illinois 60626

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