Dal pneuma ermetico allo Spirito Cristiano
From the hermetic pneuma to the Christian Spirit.
A typical concept of Greek philosophy, in particular Stoicism, and of
Hermetism as well, Pneuma (and its Latin equivalent, spiritus) was currently
employed to designate the vital force by which god endowed the
created world. Whereas in Greco-Roman philosophy the nature of such
force is material, early Christian writers (from Paul to Origen) attributed
to pneuma the characteristic of an immaterial reality, which could
also be suitable for superimposing it to the Holy Spirit. Such a meaning
became usual in the Middle Ages and consequently the interpretation
of Hermetic pneuma changed. In many passages of the Corpus Hermeticum,
pneuma was therefore assumed to mean the Holy Spirit. Renaissance
authors, such as Marsilio Ficino and Francesco Zorzi, provide in
their interpretation of Hermetic writings interesting examples of the use
of spiritus, both as a material and an immaterial substance.