The phrase ruach qadosh ('holy spirit') appears only three times in the Tanakh (Tehillim 51:13, Yeshayahu 63:10 and 11), each time with a possessive adjective ('your,' 'His') and never with a definite article (ha-ruach ha-qadosh) as became common in sectarian Hellenistic Jewish literature of the first century and later Christian literature, where it is used as a compound term, a proper noun (to pneuma to hagion, 'the Holy Ghost' in pre-20th century English translations, and now 'the Holy Spirit' or 'the holy Spirit' [New American Bible, Revised Edition]). Does the term ha-ruach ha-qadosh occur in the Talmud, the Midrash, and other rabbinical literature, or only ruach ha-qodesh (commonly translated 'the holy spirit,' but which literally means 'the spirit of [the] holiness')? If it does appear, where is it found? (I have access to the Talmud and Midrash online, but I am not adept in those works.)

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    I think you are reading too much into the translation. Translating "holy" as an adjective is a normal translation of רוח הקודש into Greek even if קודש is a noun. Compare עִיר הַקֹּדֶשׁ - πόλις ἡ ἁγία (Isaiah 52:1). רוח הקודש instead of הרוח הקדושה isn't making a theological assertion; it's just better Hebrew.
    – b a
    Mar 11, 2019 at 18:04
  • I do not know much Hebrew, but I do know Greek. Just for your information, πόλις ἡ ἁγία is incorrect. 'The holy city' in Greek is 'ἡ πόλις ἡ ἁγία ('the city the holy'). Mar 11, 2019 at 18:37
  • That was a quote from the Septuagint. But even if it should be ἡ πόλις ἡ ἁγία, it would not be τὸ πνεῦμα του ἁγίου or a similar construction because Greek and Hebrew express the same phrase in different ways. הרוח הקדושה would have been as odd in Hebrew as τὸ πνεῦμα του ἁγίου in Greek.
    – b a
    Mar 11, 2019 at 19:20
  • @b a See the six instances from the Bar Ilan responsa given by rosends in the answer (Malbim, Abarbanel, and others). Though admittedly the adjective for 'holy' is masculine rather than feminine in those quotes, the construction definite article + noun + definite article ' adjective occurs. Again, I received my information from Sophie Saguy, who is Orthodox, in the article I quoted. (She says that ruach can be either masculine or feminine, but she gave no instances in rabbinical literature where ha-ruach ha-kdosha occur. Mar 11, 2019 at 19:34
  • @b a I checked the Septuagint. You correctly quoted it. Pardon me. That is an unusual construction. Mar 11, 2019 at 19:50

1 Answer 1


I am not commenting on whether it has a particular meaning (as an independent thing vs an attribute) but according to the Bar Ilan Responsa:

haruach hakodesh (with a vav in "hakOdesh"): Rashi and many other commentators (Malbim, Alshich, R. Bachya, Ramban) plus later writers of commentary and responsa use the phrase [26 instances]

same phrase with no vav: The Ibn Ezra, Abarbenel and other commentators (including the Alshich, the Ramban and the mesilat yeshiarim) use the phrase ([15 instances]

haru'ach hakadosh (with a vav after the dalet): again, commentators including the Malbim and Abarbenel and later responsa [6 instances]

  • @rosendsMarvelous, scholarly information! I upvoted you and accepted your answer. I wish I could have the exact location of the citations in those writers, knew Hebrew, and could read what all of them said. If it would not be too much, please consider giving a few examples in English in your answer. I would greatly appreciate it. As an aside, might you have an idea how Gentile Christianity got this term wrong? Mar 11, 2019 at 18:46
  • Haruach Hakodesh - Rashi Ezekiel 3:27 (chabad transaltion) "This is not part of the mission. Rather, the holy spirit told the prophet... “"
    – rosends
    Mar 11, 2019 at 18:52
  • for the 6 instances of haruach hakadosh, I can't find them in English online
    – rosends
    Mar 11, 2019 at 18:55
  • @rosendsEncyclopedia Judaica ('Ruach Ha-Kodesh') capitalizes the term as 'the Holy Spirit.' Would that be objectionable? Mar 11, 2019 at 18:57
  • You are asking about conventions of English-writing editors which is not really part of understanding the Jewish concept.
    – rosends
    Mar 11, 2019 at 19:00

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