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metaphor & myrth in gtjhom & NT

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  • Jim Bauer
    I don t think I can do anything more than sketch an outline here of my theoretical constructs as they revolve around some obscure & out of print texts, in this
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 18, 2000
      I don't think I can do anything more than sketch an outline here of my theoretical constructs as they revolve around some obscure & out of print texts, in this case _Metaphor & Myth in Science & Religion_ by Earl MacCormac & the special issue on metaphor of the journal _Critical Inquiry_. The idea is one whose originator I do not know which has been floating around linguistics for the past 20-some years. Basically it consists of the assertion that a myth consists of a "root-metaphor" around which a cluster of ancillary metaphors exists & is organized by the root-metaphor. The piece in _Critical Inquiry_, "The X-ian Scriptures as Test Case" maintains that X-ianity meets these criteria in two ways: (1) "the Kingdom is like... (which is actually a simile) & (2) the Johannine "god is love".

      MacCormac took these ideas beyond that point to claim that science & religion are just variants of the same thing--expanded metaphors--so he's declared himself a "radical agnostic" & treats science not just religion as ideas to be doubted. Personally, I think any time you put science & religion together as the same you're probably using too loose a definition. I'm reminded of a similarly over-broad categorization made by an anthropologist who declared shamans to include "all Protestants & the Pope".

      I would like to ask the other contributors to the list to give me their opinions of whether there are "root-metaphors" in GT & if so, how do they compare with the NT? Obviously the "Kingdom of Heaven is like..." stuff would be treatable as the same type of thing the NT Jesus talks about in his parallels. However, it seems to me to that Thomas may be even more heavily metaphor-driven than the NT. Besides mythological statements the NT contains narrative which cannot really be broken down into metaphors. How can the Temptation, for example, be reduced to metaphors? Yet unlike the NT almost every statement in Thomas contains some kind of symbolic property, especially #44 where Jesus says, "I am the light above them all. I am the All." In the absence of narrative the mythology relies more heavily on symbol.

      & as an aside to Mike, I'd like to ask if those "Kingdom is..." sayings metaphors or similes in the original Coptic.

      Jim Bauer


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