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Patterns of Sin in the Hebrew BibleMetaphor, Culture, and the Making of a Religious Concept$
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Joseph Lam

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199394647

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199394647.001.0001

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Sin and Metaphor in the Hebrew Bible

Sin and Metaphor in the Hebrew Bible

(p.1) 1 Sin and Metaphor in the Hebrew Bible
Patterns of Sin in the Hebrew Bible

Joseph Lam

Oxford University Press

This introductory chapter argues for a metaphor-oriented approach to the study of sin as a cultural concept in ancient Israel. While past studies have focused on the images embedded in the etymologies of terms for sin in the Hebrew Bible, the present work examines metaphors operating at the level of phrases and sentences. Moreover, a proper analysis of metaphor requires awareness of two major theoretical insights. First, metaphoricity is not an intrinsic feature of words and phrases but, rather, a mode of language construal distinguishable from the literal. Second, metaphors need to be analyzed not only in isolation but also in view of the thematic and inductive patterns to which they belong, especially when the goal is the recovery of ancient cultural presuppositions.

Keywords:   sin, metaphor, Hebrew Bible, etymologies, construal, lexicalization, patterns

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