/spir"i chooh euhl/, adj.1. of, pertaining to, or consisting of spirit; incorporeal.2. of or pertaining to the spirit or soul, as distinguished from the physical nature: a spiritual approach to life.3. closely akin in interests, attitude, outlook, etc.: the professor's spiritual heir in linguistics.4. of or pertaining to spirits or to spiritualists; supernatural or spiritualistic.5. characterized by or suggesting predominance of the spirit; ethereal or delicately refined: She is more of a spiritual type than her rowdy brother.6. of or pertaining to the spirit as the seat of the moral or religious nature.7. of or pertaining to sacred things or matters; religious; devotional; sacred.8. of or belonging to the church; ecclesiastical: lords spiritual and temporal.9. of or relating to the mind or intellect.n.10. a spiritual or religious song: authentic folk spirituals.11. spirituals, affairs of the church.12. a spiritual thing or matter.[1275-1325; ME < ML spiritualis, equiv. to L spiritu- (s. of spiritus SPIRIT) + -alis -AL1]
* * *In North American white and black folk music, an English-language folk hymn.White spirituals derived variously, notably from the "lining out" of psalms, dating from at least the mid-17th century. Where congregations could not read, a leader intoned the psalm one line at a time, alternating with the congregation's singing of each line to a familiar melody; the tune, sung slowly, was ornamented with passing notes, turns, and other graces. A second source was the singing of hymns set to borrowed melodies, often secular folk tunes. Themes included going home to the promised land and gaining ground against sin; typical refrains were "Roll, Jordan" and "Glory Hallelujah." The songs survive in oral tradition in isolated areas and also in the form of shape-note singings. African American spirituals developed in part from white rural folk hymnody but differ greatly in voice quality, vocal effects, rhythm, and type of rhythmic accompaniment. They were sung not only in worship but also as work songs, and the text imagery often reflects concrete tasks. Like the white gospel song, the modern African American gospel song derives from the spiritual.
* * *▪ religious orderalso called Spiritual Franciscanmember of an extreme group within the Franciscans, a mendicant religious order founded by St. Francis of Assisi in 1209; the Spirituals firmly espoused the austerity and poverty prescribed in the original Rule of St. Francis. Called the Fraticelli, they were opposed, to some extent, by St. Bonaventure (Bonaventure, Saint), a leading Franciscan theologian, and some were condemned and executed as heretics. Among the Spiritual Franciscans, the works of the late 12th-century mystic Joachim Of Fiore were influential, and because of their ideals the Spirituals became sources of inspiration to Protestant mystics of the 16th-century Reformation.
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