Conceptual metaphor as exegetical tool in the Psalter: a case study of Psalm 74
Niemand, Johannes Maguldies Gerhardus
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In their seminal work, Metaphors We Live By (1980), Lakoff and Johnson make a strong case that metaphors are much more than poetic embellishment. Human beings’ very cognition and conceptualisation depend on the metaphor phenomenon. Without it, we would not be able to think abstractly, engage in the complex interaction of diverse knowledge systems, or think of something in terms of something else. In other words, metaphor is foundational to our very meaning making processes. This dissertation seeks to explore the application of conceptual metaphor theory as proposed by Lakoff and Johnson in the exegesis of Psalm 74. Since no exegetical model using conceptual metaphor theory as a point of departure existed during the writing of this dissertation, a workable model was first extracted from recent developments in the theory of metaphor. This model was applied in exegesis of Psalm 74, a communal lament. The model proved to be sufficiently productive in aiding exegesis and using the model’s various levels of interpretation resulted in a very thorough reading of the Hebrew text of Psalm 74. These levels of interpretation are: 1) poetic metaphors, 2) conceptual metaphors, 3) image schemata and, 4) idealised cognitive models. In conclusion, the use of conceptual metaphor theory highlighted the possible use of Psalm 74 and the other psalms of Asaph in aiding the post-exilic Israelite community (communities) in reorienting their worldview while dealing with the national trauma of the Babylonian exile. Modern trauma theory was particularly helpful in understanding the possible use of the ancient texts during and after the Babylonian exile.
- Theology 
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