Taste and See: Perceptual Metaphors in Israelite and Early Jewish Sapiential Epistemology Open Access

Tilford, Nicole Lynn (2013)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/9g54xh85d?locale=en
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Abstract

This dissertation examines the role of perception in Israelite and early Jewish epistemology through cognitive linguistics and conceptual metaphor theory. In particular, I argue that the regular and repeated experience of the environment through the senses provided the basic cognitive patterns for ancient Israelite and early Jewish scribes to understand the abstract experience of cognition, define the proper means of acquiring knowledge, and prescribe appropriate behaviors for their community members to follow.

Chapters 1 and 2 lay the theoretical and cultural foundations for the study. Chapters 3-5 examine the biological and cultural understanding of perception in the Hebrew Bible and the metaphors derived from them. I begin my analysis in Chapter 3 by establishing a set of "prototypical properties" associated with each of the senses in ancient Israel. Such properties, I argue, were mapped to varying degrees onto the abstract domain of cognition, creating distinctive sets of "primary" metaphors (knowing is seeing, understanding is grasping, ideas are food, etc.), which were then extended, blended, and clustered together to create complex, imaginative metaphors about wisdom (wisdom is a garment, wisdom is a path of light, wisdom is a teacher, etc.). Chapter 3 examines these primary metaphors as they appear in three biblical texts (Proverbs, Job, Qohelet), while Chapters 4 and 5 focus on the various complex, imaginative metaphors in the book of Proverbs. Chapter 6 concludes this study by examining how these imaginative perceptual metaphors became conventional modes of expression in early Jewish literature.

My study of the embodied nature of wisdom metaphors, then, is a study of the cognitive hermeneutics of ancient Israel and early Judaism. Because it postulates that both universal and cultural factors influenced the formation, expansion, and interpretation of epistemological metaphors, my study offers a fresh perspective by which to study biblical traditions and their early interpretations. Most importantly, my dissertation suggests that our study of the Hebrew Bible and its reception would benefit from taking into account not only the cultural milieu of the cultures that produced and interpreted these texts but also the common corporeal experiences that shaped their literary ventures.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Chapter 1: Embodied Meaning 8
Mind-Body Dualism? 8
Embodied Meaning 16
Factors behind Schema Formation 20
Pre-verbal Extension of Meaning 25
Linguistic Extension 30
1. Conventional Metaphors 31
2. Imaginative Metaphors 33
3. Post-Imaginative Metaphors 38
Metaphorical Clusters 40
A Special Case: The Proverb 43
Summary 44

The Lakoff-Johnson-Turner Theory and Ancient Literature 46


Chapter 2: Contextual Considerations 53
Of Scribes, Sages, and Wisdom Literature 53
What is Wisdom? 62


Chapter 3: Metaphors of Cognition 69
COGNITION IS PERCEPTION 69
COGNITION IS SEEING 83
Typology of Sight 83
COGNITION IS SEEING 89
Knowledge Metaphors 90
Emotion Metaphors 94
Judgment Metaphors 95
Summary 97
COGNITION IS HEARING, COGNITION IS SPEAKING 98
Typology of Hearing and Speaking 99
COGNITION IS HEARING/SPEAKING 103
Knowledge Metaphors 104
Emotion Metaphors 115
Judgment Metaphors 116
Summary 117
COGNITION IS TOUCHING 118
Typology of Touch 119
COGNITION IS TOUCHING 126
Knowledge Metaphors 126
Emotion Metaphors 136
Judgment Metaphors 138
Summary 139
COGNITION IS INGESTION 141
Typology of Ingestion 141
COGNITION IS INGESTION 147
Emotion Metaphors 147
Judgment Metaphors 154
Summary 158
COGNITION IS MOVING 159
Typology of Movement 159
COGNITION IS MOVING 166
Knowledge Metaphors 166
Emotion Metaphors 171
Behavior Metaphors 173
Judgment Metaphors 177
Summary 177
Summary 179


Chapter 4: Metaphors of Wisdom 187
Imaginative Extensions 187
Examples in Proverbs 188
Complex Blends 201
Constraints on Blends 202
Examples in Proverbs 209
Word Blends 209
Behavior Blends 233
Creative Clusters 250
Examples in Proverbs 250
From Cluster to Blend: WISDOM IS RIGHTEOUSNESS 258
Summary 262


Chapter 5: The Personification of Wisdom and Folly 267
The Cognition of Personification 267
1. Causal Tautology 269
2. Inchoate Personifications 271
Proverbs 8:22-31 276
3. Full Personifications of Wisdom 277
4. Full Personifications of Folly 289
Summary 295


Chapter 6: Metaphorical Trajectories 297
Job and Qohelet 298
LXX Proverbs 303
Ben Sira 305
Wisdom of Solomon 314
Summary 319


Conclusions 320


Bibliography 326
326

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