(Investigator 109, 2006 July)


The ancient Greeks believed that thinking occurred in the stomach and that the head functioned as a cooling chamber for the blood.

Hippocrates (460-357 BC), known as the Father of Medicine, mentioned this belief and disagreed with it:

I therefore assert that the brain is the interpreter of comprehension. Accident and convention have falsely ascribed that function to the diaphragm which does not and could not possess it. I know of no way in which the diaphragm can think and be conscious… (Penguin Books 1983, p. 250)

It ought to be generally known that the source of our pleasure, merriment, laughter and amusement, as of our grief, pain, anxiety and tears, is none other than the brain. It is specially the organ which enables us to think, see and hear, and to distinguish the ugly and the beautiful, the bad and the good, pleasant and unpleasant. (Ibid p. 248)

Centuries later, in Roman times, Pliny the Elder (AD 23-79) wrote that the heart, the literal heart, is "the seat of the mind" and the brain is the "mind's government":

The heart provides the main housing for the vital principle and the blood, in a winding recess… This is the seat of the mind. (Healy 1991, p. 160)

The brain is the seat of the mind's government. (Ibid p. 159)

The Bible avoided ancient mistakes. Consider its teaching about the heart and the head:


The word "heart" occurs about 900 times in the Bible. The word is nearly always used figuratively, rarely literally. W E Vine wrote:

…the word came to stand for man's entire mental and moral activity, both the rational and the emotional elements. In other words, the heart is used figuratively for the hidden springs of the personal life. (1981, Volume 2: E-Li, p. 206)    
<>I would define "heart", as usually used in the Bible, as the interplay of thoughts and emotions.

The New Combined Bible Dictionary and Concordance says:

<>HEART. there are several meanings for this word in the Bible.

(1) It is the center of the physical workings of the body, that on which life depends. ( I Kin. 21:7; Acts 14:17)

(2) It is spoken of as the seat of the emotions, such as joy and sorrow (Is. 65:14), fear (Ps. 143:4), hate (Lev. 19:17), and love (I Tim. 1:5). When a person turns from God it is his heart that is hardened (Is. 63:17). If one opens his heart to Christ, it can be the dwelling place of Christ (Eph. 3:17) and the Holy Spirit (II Cor. 1:22)

Lord looketh on the h., I Sam. 16:7.
h. with all diligence. Prov. 4:23.
h. is deceitful above all, Jer. 17:9.
there will your h. be Matt. 6:21.
the abundance of the h. Matt. 12:34.
God with all thy h. Matt. 22:37.
Not your h. be troubled, John 14:1.
The h. man believeth, Rom. 10:10.
Love with a pure h. I Pet. 1:22.

The "heart" also does the following:
The "heart" is the source of:
From all this, my definition of the "heart" as the "interplay of thoughts and emotions" seems appropriate.


The King James "Holy Bible" says:

In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel had a dream and visions of his head upon his bed… (Daniel 7:1)

I Daniel was grieved in my spirit in the midst of my body, and the visions of my head troubled me. (Daniel 7:15)

The Moffat translation says "visions of his brain" and "visions of my brain". However the Good News Bible removes the word "head" and says "I saw a vision". And the New International Version substitutes the word "mind" and says "visions passed through his mind".

"Head" is the correct translation. We can confirm this from concordances such as Young’s Analytical Concordance and the Englishman’s Hebrew and Chaldee Concordance. (See references)

Additional references to "visions" in the "head" are in Daniel 2:28;  4:5, 10, 13.

The visions of Daniel’s "head" included speech within the visions – Daniel 8:13-15.

Therefore we can conclude that visual and verbal thinking occur in the head. And this is confirmed by science.


The Apostle Paul illustrated that Christians should live in harmony by comparing Christians to various parts of the body such as the foot, hand, ear and eye. (I Corinthians 12)

In particular Paul says: "Now you [members of the church] are the body of Christ and individually members of it." (v. 27)

Elsewhere Paul writes: "Christ is the head of the church, his body…" (Ephesians 5:23)

For the analogy of Christ as "head of the church [or body]" to be valid, the literal head of a person would have to be what controls the body. The head determines or decides what the body parts such as the foot, hand, ear and eye will do:

…we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love. (Ephesians 4:15-17)

Another reference to the head is in Ecclesiastes:

Then I saw that wisdom excels folly as light excels darkness. The wise man has eyes in his head, but the fool walks in darkness; and yet I perceived that one fate comes to them all. (2:13-14)

Examining these verses suggests that the word "darkness" in "the fool walks in darkness" refers to folly. And the word "eyes" in the phrase "eyes in his head" refers to wisdom.

It follows that "the wise man has eyes – i.e. wisdom – in his head."


Visual and verbal thinking, the control of the body, and wisdom are all located in the head.

The ancient belief that thinking occurs in the stomach and the head merely cools the blood was false.

There are hundreds of other instances of The Bible turning out correct and other sources wrong. This is still happening in the 20th and 21st centuries as proved in 100 editions of Investigator Magazine.


Hippocratic Writings, 1983, Penguin Books, USA
Pfeiffer, C 1965 The New Combined Bible Dictionary and Concordance, Baker Book House
Healy, J F (Translator) 1991 Pliny the Elder, Natural History, Penguin
Unger, M F 1966 Unger's Bible Dictionary, Moody Press
Vine, W E 1981 Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, Fleming H Revell Company
Wigram, G Englishman's Hebrew and Chaldee Concordance of the Old Testament, Samuel Bagster and Sons, p. 1142
Young, R 1939 Analytical Concordance To The Holy Bible, Lutterworth.

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