The theological significance of light (אור) in the Old Testament : an applied cognitive linguistic study

Ruark, Joel D. (2017-03)

Thesis (MTh)--Stellenbosch University, 2017.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Even a casual reading of the Old Testament demonstrates that the ancient Israelite writers clearly conceived of some kind of conceptual relationship between light and YHWH. Theologians disagree concerning its precise nature, however, advocating anything from a simple metaphorical relationship with no metaphysical meaning to a full ontological equivalency of YHWH (primitively, as a sun-god) and the sun. The thesis applies the principles of cognitive semantics to the lexeme אור (light) in Biblical Hebrew and develops a working hypothesis of the conceptual relationship between light and YHWH in the ancient Israelite cognitive environment. After constructing a cognitive model of the lexeme אור in Biblical Hebrew, the thesis then tests this model and its derived conclusions against theological writings concerning light in the interpretive history of the Old Testament, with special focus on contributions made in the last fifty years. This comparative investigation seeks to determine how the recent developments of cognitive linguistic theory either confirm or correct previous understandings of the theological significance of light in Old Testament literature. On the basis of testing this cognitive model of light, the thesis proposes a working hypothesis concerning the relationship between light and YHWH in the ancient Israelite conceptual world and delineates a set of methodological principles for a future study to develop a more precise and fully articulated theology of light in the Old Testament. The concluding chapter explores the implications of both the cognitive model of light and the academic discipline of cognitive linguistics within Old Testament studies and the broader theological landscape.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Geen opsomming

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/101045
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