Wednesday, November 18, 2009
'Sexual and Marital Metaphors in Hosea, Jeremiah, Isaiah, and Ezekiel'
In setting the stage, the author says that the historical-critical ideas of the metaphors as words or ideas that represent other actual words or firm ideas (the substitionary approach) is too restrictive for how the metaphors should be understood.
She asserts that a cognitive approach, that is, seeing metaphors as cognitive devices with the power to transform perception and reorient perspective, in preferred.
It's traditional exegesis versus feminist exegesis.
I'm thinking that calling these ancient images "metaphors" in the first place is too limiting, and that "allegory" gets closer to the kind of thing that transforms perception and reorients perspective.
An allegory is greater than the sum of its metaphors and similes.
Zion/Israel is always a female and Yahweh is always a male, and both are always in what we today would consider a dysfunctional relationship.
As allegory, though -- something with the power ro transform perception and reorient perspective -- what we have is a story about a relationship between a powerful persona and a much less powerful (but not totally powerless) persona, which is, in fact, the nature of the Covenant.
It eliminates the gender baggage, which puts the power differential is sharper focus.
Once upon a time I checked out one of three existing copies of a "Trolley Honeymoon" available in North America.
I do get the impression however that she is not accepting the serious division between male and female worlds in Hebrew and Levant Histories. Pragmatically and Religiously they were parallel, interlocked, but separate worlds and it should not be suprizing that the male world which controled the alphabet and writing and books would "put" down and use the female world as the example of an enemy in negative terms. Be it allegory or metaphor or just a good story they ALL reflect the reality of the world from which they spring and in which they are accepted as having meaning.
The war between the Goddess and the God has been suppressed and covered over in our time. But at the time of the OT it was in full open battle.
The war between the sexes is simply a reflection of the war between their Gods.
I think she's trying to find a way to retain the stories and make them relevant, against other feminsit theologians who want the yanks those sections out a shred 'em.
Context is everything.
Think about how "tea bagging" has changed meanings within the last year.
Ever read "The Evolution of God"?
Can't we just change a few pronouns and make everything OK? :)