The conceptualisation of anger in the Hebrew Bible

Kotze, Zacharias (2004-12)

Thesis (DPhil)--University of Stellenbosch, 2004.

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Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: There is no scarcity of publications on the subject of anger in the Hebrew Bible. Most of these concern themselves with the theological significance of the wrath of God. In particular, its function as chastisement for sin is repeatedly accentuated while other conceptual elements as conveyed by Classical Hebrew words and expressions for anger are usually overlooked. In the majority of cases, lexicographical studies of anger terminology contend themselves with the accepted 'literal' meaning of words. The result is an impoverished appreciation of the concepts that governed the mind of the ancient Israelites and determined their use of language with respect to the conceptualisation of anger. This situation provided a good incentive for a study on anger concepts in the Hebrew Bible. The cognitive theory of language proved to be an ideal tool for analyzing Classical Hebrew lexemes and expressions relating to the concept of anger. Several figurative sayings were identified that relate directly to culturally defined concomitants of this emotion. They can be summarised in an idealised cognitive model that include the following conceptual metonymies for anger: body heat, quickened breathing, frowning, glaring, gnashing of teeth, internal pressure, redness in the face/neck, agitation, internal agitation, slaver at the mouth, lifting the hand, clapping the hands, stamping the feet and violent, frustrated behaviour. Over and above these metonymies, a number of conceptual metaphors have been identified that added a great deal of conceptual content to the idealised cognitive model of anger in the Hebrew Bible. The ANGER IS HEAT metaphor seems to have its basis in the experience of bodily heat. Environmental phenomena, such as the hot desert wind, earthquake, clouds, storms and floods also proved to be prolific source domains for metaphoric transfer. Other conceptual domains employed by the ancient Israelites to image anger are: burdens, winepresses, poison, opponents, dangerous animals, transgression, presence and bounded spaces. The data analysed in this study pointed to a clearly defined conceptual model for anger that can best be viewed as a prototype scenario with several stages. The phases follow on each other in temporal order. Anger typically follows on the occurrence of an intended offending event. Although the ideal is to control anger, this rarely happens. In the majority of cases, anger results in some violent act of retribution. In conclusion, several suggestions have been made with regard to the study of concepts, such as anger, in the Hebrew Bible. Firstly, the fact that most theological dictionaries and Hebrew lexicons to date have been dominated by the Autonomic View of language and its interest to identify the detachable 'meaning' of Classical Hebrew terms needs to be acknowledged. In order to fully appreciate the idealised cognitive model of the ancient Israelites with regard to a specific concept, a thorough diachronic study of related words and expressions needs to be undertaken in view of their humoral theories and beliefs regarding magic and spirits. Finally, some recommendations relating to the etymology of certain Classical Hebrew terms for anger were made.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die oorgrote meerderheid ondersoeke oor die emosie van woede in die Hebreeuse Bybel het as sentrale idee die teologiese implikasies van die toorn van God. Die funksie daarvan as straf vir menslike sonde word dikwels beklemtoon, terwyl nagelaat word om ook aandag te gee aan konseptuele elemente soos dit neerslag vind in die taal wat gebruik word om die emosie te beskryf. Leksikografiese studies fokus meesal op die 'letterlike' betekenis van woorde en verwaarloos so die konseptuele inhoud van uitdrukkings wat aangewend word om woede te beskryf. Dit is die agtergrond vir die besluit om 'n deeglike ondersoek te doen na konseptualisasie van woede soos dit bestaan het in die gedagtewereld van die ou Israeliete. Die kognitiewe teorie van taal bied die mees gepaste metodologie vir 'n bestudering van sodanige konsepte in die Hebreeuse Bybel. Met behulp van hierdie metodologiese raamwerk is verskeie konseptuele metonimiee geidentifiseer wat neerslag vind in 'n ideale kognitiewe model van toorn soos dit beskryf word in die Hebreeuse Bybel. Die konseptuele metonimiee vir woede sluit direk aan by verskeie liggaamlike ervarings en wyses van uitdrukking wat geassosieer word met hierdie emosie. Die volgende elemente, wat gebruik is as basis vir die metaforiese taalgebruik in die verband, is geidentifiseer: liggaamlike hitte, vinnige asemhaling, 'n frons, glurende oe, tandekners, interne druk, rooiheid in die gesig/nek, agitasie, skuim by die mond, oplig van die hand, handeklap, voete stamp en gefrustreerde gedrag. Bo en behalwe hierdie metonimiee, is daar ook verskeie konseptuele metafore onderskei wat baie help om 'n meer volledige kognitiewe model van toorn daar te stel. Die TOORN IS HITTE metafoor het waarskynlik sy oorsprong in die ervaring van liggaamshitte deur die persoon wat die emosie ervaar. 'n Hele aantal metafore blyk gemotiveer te wees deur meteorologiese en omgewingsfaktore, soos die warm woestynwind, aardbewings, wolke, storms en winde. Ander bronne vir metaforiese oordrag met betrekking tot woede is: swaar laste, wynperse, gif, opponente, gevaarlike diere, oortreding, teenwoordigheid en begrensde ruimtes. Die data wat so versamel is, dui op 'n goed-gedefinieerde konseptuele voorstelling vir woede in die Hebreeuse Bybel. Hierdie model kan gesien word as 'n prototipiese gebeurtenis waarvan die elemente kronologies op mekaar volg. In 'n tipiese geval word die emosie ontlok deur 'n doelbewuste benadeling van die subjek wat die emosie beleef. Die ideaal is dat die persoon sy woede in toom hou. Meesal is dit egter nie die geval nie en loop dit uit op gewelddadige, vergeldende optrede. Ten slotte is sekere suggesties gemaak rakende die etimologie van sekere terme vir woede in die Hebreeuse Bybel. Daar is ook aanbeveel dat in toekomstige studies van sodanige konsepte in die Hebreeuse Bybel in ag moet neem dat die oorgrote meerderheid van beskikbare teologiese woordeboeke en Hebreeuse leksika ten onregte hulself ten doel stel om die 'letterlike' betekenisse van sodanige emosie-woorde na te gaan, met verwaarlosing van die konseptuele wereld wat die uitdrukkings onderle. Derhalwe is ook 'n deeglike diakroniese studie van die konseptuele aard van dergelike woorde en uitdrukkings, met inagneming van ou Israelitiese humorale opvattings betreffende die bonatuurlike, van wesenlike belang.

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