SPIRIT AND SOUL ("GEIST" AND "SEELE")
REFERRED TO THE FUNDAMENTAL IDEA OF THEIR GERMANIC
BY K. VON EAUMEE.
TriE words u geist" and " seele" (spirit and soul) are of those whose derivation is not yet satisfactorily ascertained.
In the word geist, it does not assist us much to refer to the oldest forms accessible to us. The Gothic does not possess the word, at least so far as our sources reach; rather the Gothic translates the Greek irvevfia by ahma. The Anglo-Saxon has the word in the form gdst; in the old Saxon it appears as gest; and even in the old High German it reaches far back in the forms geist and keist. On the other hand, again, it is wanting in the old northern, which reproduces the idea of irvevfui, spiritus, in the word andi (masc.). But even this andi does not occur in the rhythmical Edda, and seems generally only to be used in prose, and in such poems as bear a distinctly Christian character. All the forms in which the older Germanic languages present the word geist, testify (1) that the initial sound is a mute of the Gothic character of sound g; (2) that the vowel of the word (High German ei, Anglo-Saxon d, old Saxon 6) corresponds to the Gothic ai. Hence it follows that the derivation of the word geist from the old High German jesan (fermenlescere, to ferment) is untenable. Grimm (Gramm. ii. 46) traces geist back to the root geisan, gais, gisun (ferire); but this root itself is only assumed to exist. There remains, therefore, nothing to do but to bring together the words of the Germanic languages whose sound accords with geist, and whose import points to a connection with this word. In a peculiar manner the two old Germanic languages from which the word geist proceeds, actually present some words which probably lead us to the fundamental idea of the word. The old-northern has a trace of a word geisa—cum impetu ferri, cito cursu ferri, mere. But the Gothic renders igurrdvai, Mark iii. 21, by usgaisjan; Luke ii. 47, and elsewhere, i^iaraaOai by usgeisnan. We should thus be led to suppose that the idea lying at the root of the word geist is that of quick, hasty movement. The old northern substantive dd> (Voluspd 18), spirit, offers an analogy with this ideal affinity in its reference to the adjective 6&r, rash, impetuous, fierce, and to its root, va$a prcet.: Ci, to go along eagerly, with force.
The word seele (soul), Gothic saivala, seems to be connected with the Gothic saivs (late High German, See); and the connecting idea appears, in like manner, to be that of movement, although of a gentler kind. The word seele occurs in the Gothic (saivala), old High German (se"la), Anglo-Saxon (sdvul, sdvl, sdul), old Saxon (sSola, siola). On the other hand, the word seems to have appeared in the old-northern at the same time as Christianity. In the whole rhythmic Edda, only the distinctly Christian Sularlioi contain it. We have the original psychological mode of expression of the north German in Vuluspd 18, where 6&r is interchangeable with geist, and und with seele, without, however, implying thereby that these ideas are hidden there in all their meaning and extent. At all events, it looks as if Christianity had been the first means of representing the odr of the Edda as andi, the und of the Edda as sal. The Icelandic translation of the New Testament (Kaupmannahaufn, 1807) renders irvevfia by ande, ^v^rj by sal. There needs still further investigation to tell us how far, in the other Germanic languages also, the promulgation of the words geist and sSle might be associated with the introduction of Christianity.