Date of Award

1997

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Religion, Old Testament Studies PhD

First Advisor

Jacques B. Doukhan

Second Advisor

Jon Paulien

Third Advisor

Leona G. Running

Abstract

Problem.

Compared with the effort to interpret other parts of the book of Hosea, especially the first three chapters, the final chapter has been rather neglected. Additionally, the variety of explanations offered for certain biblical images in Hos 14 indicates a necessity to clarify the methods of interpretation of biblical metaphorical language.

Method.

Chapter 1 clarifies the theory of metaphors on which the study is based.

Chapter 2 determines the limitation and the structure of the passage Hos 2:2-9 (Eng. 1-8). In chapters 3 to 6 the metaphors and similes of this passage which refer to Yahweh, i.e., "healing," "loving," "dew," and "tree," are investigated in turn.

According to the results of modern linguistics, metaphors and similes are investigated as phenomena of language based on the Old Testament as their immediate cultural and linguistic context and, if necessary, on figurative speech of the ancient Near East. The language traditions of the metaphors are studied. On this background the actual usage in the book of Hosea with its twists, alterations, and reversals is interpreted.

Results.

The study demonstrates that Hosea's metaphors and similes are deeply rooted in Israelite language traditions.

An interpretation based on mythology or cult practices, that understands the metaphors in some sense as a literal description of Hosea's or the people's experience, is rejected because it is not supported by the texts and because it implies a devaluation of the metaphors.

The metaphoric language in Hos 14 suggests that there exists a covenant relationship between Yahweh and His people Israel. Moreover, all the metaphors for Yahweh are traditionally connected with kingship. However, they are used in such a way that they give expression to an eschatological hope with Yahweh as Israel's king. This hope, however, does not downgrade Yahweh's radical judgment.

The use of similes and clusters of metaphors has a rational effect and demonstrates how the prophet argues with his audience.

Conclusions.

Biblical metaphors and similes must be interpreted on the background of their language conventions. The particular characteristic of the use of the metaphor becomes clear and can only be appreciated in comparison to its conventions. The study of convention and actual usage yields the appropriate interpretation.

Subject Area

Bible, Hosea 14:2-9--Criticism, interpretation. etc, God (Judaism)--Name, Andrews University--Dissertations--Bible. O.T. Hosea 14:2-9--Criticism, interpretation, etc.

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