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For the popular musical genre, see soul music.

The soul is the deeper essence of a person. This can be understood in a number of ways. It may be understood as a religious or supernatural concept, with each person having an inner being that transcends death, and can be embodied in spirits or ghosts. A more secular understanding of the soul is to talk, as ancient philosophers did, of the soul being the emotional, moral and intellectual temperament or identity - the thing which makes a person unique and essential. Soul can also be synonymous with consciousness.

The Catholic Catechism gives the following definition of soul: "the innermost aspect of humans, that which is of greatest value in them, that by which they are most especially in God's image: 'soul' signifies the spiritual principle in humans"[1].

In literature, souls are often sold or given away in return for a reward, often to a Devil character. This has a Biblical source in Matthew 16:26: "For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" The story of Faust is the paradigmatic example.

  1. Catechism, §363