Toward an Old Testament theology of light : from physical concept to metaphysical analogy

Ruark, Joel D. (2019-12)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2019.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The rise of Cognitive Linguistics as an academic discipline in the last fifty years has spawned a new chapter in linguistic approches to biblical theology. This dissertation utilizes the cognitive theories of embodied cognition and conceptual metaphor theory––both of which are foundational to cognitive lexical semantics––to analyze the referential and metaphorical uses of lexical terms for light in Biblical Hebrew and to propose a consistent and coherent cognitive model that fits the textual evidence within the Old Testament. The Old Testament uses the physical concept of light to conceptualize the abstract concepts of both WISDOM and LIFE, with YHWH as the common and determinative conceptual element. Furthermore, the use of both nominal and verbal concepts suggests the cognitive metaphor YHWH IS SELF-GENERATING LIGHT as an operative theological axiom in the ancient Israelite conceptual world underlying the Old Testament text. This dissertation then conducts a typological analysis of the referential and metaphorical use of light in ancient Israelite culture in comparison with other ancient Near Eastern literature and iconography. While numerous conceptual congruities can be seen among the various cultures, many attestations of the metaphorical use of light in the ancient Near Eastern material can be explained via the conceptual metaphor POWER IS RADIANCE, a metaphor conspicuously absent from the Old Testament. Rather, the Old Testament utilizes the metaphors WISDOM IS LIGHT and LIFE IS LIGHT but always avoids the POWER IS RADIANCE metaphor, even when discussing concepts such as lightning or salvation which necessarily involve the expression of divine power. A conceptual analysis of the lexical data in the Old Testament consistently and coherently displays the conceptual metaphor YHWH IS SELF-GENERATING LIGHT as a genuine metaphysical analogy, yielding a cluster of theological concepts. Light theology in the Old Testament is cataphatic, revealing the omni-temporal sovereignty of YHWH. Light theology in the Old Testament is also dialectical, revealing YHWH in his efficience yet concealing YHWH in his essence. The beneficent nature of this efficience in the physical world reveals the fundamental goodness of YHWH. Finally, light theology in the Old Testament heralds the establishment of YHWH's immanent physical presence in the cosmos during the eschatological age, but falls short of expounding either an incarnational revelation of, or a sacramental participation in, YHWH's divine efficience.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die opkoms van kognitiewe taalkunde as akademiese dissipline in die afgelope vyftig jaar het 'n nuwe hoofstuk in taalkundige benaderings tot die Bybelse teologie na vore laat kom. In hierdie proefskrif word gebruik gemaak van die kognitiewe teorieë van beliggaming van kognisie en konseptuele metafoorteorie - wat beide gegrond is op kognitiewe leksikale semantiek - om die verwysende en metaforiese gebruike van leksikale terme vir Lig in Bybelse Hebreeus te analiseer en om 'n konsekwente en samehangende kognitiewe model voor te stel wat by die tekstuele getuienis binne die Ou Testament pas. Die Ou Testament gebruik die fisiese konsep van Lig om die abstrakte konsepte van WYSHEID en LEWE te konseptualiseer, met JHWH as die algemene en bepalende konseptuele element. Verder suggereer die gemengde gebruik van nominale en verbale konsepte die kognitiewe metafoor JHWH IS SELF-GENERERENDE LIG as 'n operatiewe teologiese aksioma in die antieke Israelitiese konseptuele wêreld onderliggend aan die Ou-Testamentiese teks. Hierdie proefskrif doen dan 'n tipologiese analise van die verwysende en metaforiese gebruik van Lig in die antieke Israelitiese kultuur in vergelyking met ander antieke Oosterse literatuur en ikonografie. Alhoewel daar verskillende konseptuele ooreenkomste tussen die verskillende kulture gesien kan word, kan baie getuienisse van die metaforiese gebruik van Lig in die ou Nabye Oosterse materiaal deur middel van die metafoor MAG IS ‘N UITSTRALING verklaar word, 'n metafoor wat opvallend afwesig in die Ou Testament is. Inteendeel, die Ou Testament maak gebruik van die metafore WYSHEID IS LIG en LEWE IS LIG, maar vermy altyd die metafoor MAG IS ‘N UITSTRALING, selfs wanneer konsepte soos weerlig of verlossing bespreek word wat noodwendig die aktualisering van goddelike krag oproep. 'n Konseptuele analise van die leksikale gegewens in die Ou Testament toon konsekwent en samehangend die konseptuele metafoor JHWH IS SELF-GENERERENDE LIG as 'n egte metafisiese analogie, wat allerhande teologiese assosiasies oproep. Lig teologie in die Ou Testament is katafaties, wat die omni-temporele soewereiniteit van JHWH openbaar. Lig teologie in die Ou Testament is ook dialekties, en openbaar JHWH in sy werksaamheid, maar verberg JHWH in sy wese. Die gunstige aard van hierdie werksaamheid in die fisiese wêreld openbaar die fundamentele goedheid van JHWH. Uiteindelik verklaar die Lig teologie in die Ou Testament dat die immanente fisieke teenwoordigheid van JHWH in die kosmos gedurende die eskatologiese era gevestig is, maar dit skiet tekort om óf 'n vleesgeworde openbaring van, óf 'n sakramentele deelname aan JHWH se goddelike werksaamheid te verwoord.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/107148
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