Jill Middlemas, «The Prophets, the Priesthood, and the Image of God (Gen 1,26-27)», Vol. 97 (2016) 321-341
This analysis considers aniconic rhetoric in Hosea, Second Isaiah, and Ezekiel, in order to assess commonality and difference with respect to prophetic and priestly perspectives of the divine image because interpreters draw on the prophetic literature in discussions of the thought of Gen 1,26-27. There is greater similarity in thought between Second Isaiah and Gen 1,26-27 as well as greater tension between Ezekiel and the first imago Dei passage than accounted for previously, and almost no commonality with Hosea. Furthermore, the prophets diversify the number and type of divine images as a means to resist idolatry.
THE PROPHETS, THE PRIESTHOOD, AND THE IMAGE Of GOD 329
fact that they are embedded within or linked to explicit anti-idol state-
ments strengthen the possibility of their use as an aniconic rhetorical
A word of explanation may be needed at this point. I restrict the
investigation to modelling similes. These are similes that have been
shown to function metaphorically. There are other types of similes, also
referred to as illustrative similes, in which two parties are compared
point for point, which do not act like metaphors. for instance, “a pony
is like a horse”, or “the sun is like a golden ball” 35. unlike these sim-
iles, modelling similes are characterized by the interrelationship of
two distinct ideas, often referred to as the tenor and the vehicle, whereby
the concept of the tenor is altered by the concept of the vehicle. A
new entity is thus created that is equivalent neither to the tenor nor to
the vehicle alone. As with metaphor, a simile can be expressed more ful-
ly with verbs that elucidate the compared image. There are two main
camps in the metaphor debate 36 delineated according to whether a
metaphor should be understood primarily as a literary phenomenon
(Max Black) 37 or whether it is exclusively a cognitive one (George
Lakoff and his co-authors) 38. Since the analysis of metaphors about
the deity of ancient Israel proceeds from the study of texts, I under-
stand metaphor as a type of literary language that affects the cognitive
level; that is, metaphor is conveyed by the written word and has the
potential to generate new ways of thinking about and perceiving God,
the human condition, relationality, etc 39.
metaphors that portray God as mother in Hosea 11, see H. SCHüNGEL-STRAu-
MANN, “Gott als Mutter in Hosea 11”, TQ 166 (1986) 119-134.
The latter example is found in J.M. SOSKICE, Metaphor and Religious
Language (Oxford 1985) 58.
This overview to metaphor theory is reduced due to space concerns. Ex-
amples of different applications of metaphor theory to biblical literature are found
in a volume edited by P. VAN HECKE, Metaphor in the Hebrew Bible (BETL 187;
Leuven 2005). A fuller treatment of metaphor with more references can be found
in MIDDLEMAS, “Divine Presence in Absence”, 197-200; and ID., The Divine Im-
M. BLACK, Models and Metaphor. Studies in Language and Philosophy
(Ithaca, Ny 1962); and ID., “More about Metaphor”, Metaphor and Thought
(ed. A. ORTONy) (Cambridge 1979) 19-43.
E.g. G. LAKOff – M. JOHNSON, Metaphors We Live By (Chicago, IL 1980);
G. LAKOff, Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things. What Categories Reveal About
the Mind (Chicago, IL 1987); G. LAKOff – M. TuRNER, More Than Cool Reason.
A field Guide to Poetic Metaphor (Chicago, IL 1989).
for examples of this approach, see E.f. KITTAy, Metaphor: Its Cognitive