Three Zones of the Human




When reading the Bible it is important to be aware of how Mediterranean societies view the human person. While Greek philosophy uses the terms "body" and "soul," the traditional and customary understanding that is used throughout the New Testament is one of three zones of interaction.



As Bruce Malina and Richard Rohrbaugh explain (see footnote below) these zones are:

  1. Eyes-heart: the zone of emotion-fused thought includes will, intellect, judgment, personality, and feeling all rolled together.
  2. Mouth-ears: the zone of self-expressive speech includes communication, particularly that which is self-revealing. It is listening and responding.
  3. Hands-feet: the zone of purposeful action is the zone of external behavior or interaction with the environment. It is the zone of activity - of doing, performing, making.

David Ewart,,
Short, easy to use, faith inspiring explanations of the meaning of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John for your sermon, homily, bible study, or reflection.

Historical background information in this post is drawn from Social-Science Commentary on the Gospel of John, page 223.

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