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Metaphor and Masculinity in Hosea


Susan E. Haddox

The metaphors in Hosea are rich and varied, comprising both gendered and non-gendered image fields. This book examines the use of metaphor in Hosea through the lens of masculinity studies, which provides a means to elucidate connections between the images and to analyze their cumulative rhetorical effect. The rhetoric of both the gendered and non-gendered imagery is analyzed using a model from cognitive anthropology, which divides social space along three axes: activity, potency, and goodness. People use metaphors to position and to move one another within this space. These axes reveal how the metaphors in Hosea rhetorically relate the audience, represented by Ephraim/Israel, and YHWH to a particular construction of masculinity. Hosea uses the imagery of Assyrian treaty curses to reinforce YHWH’s masculinity and dominance, while undermining the masculinity of the audience. The rhetoric of the text attempts to bring the audience into an appropriately subordinate position with respect to YHWH and to shape its members’ actions and attitudes accordingly.


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Acknowledgments xi


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS have been thinking about metaphor and images in Hosea for a number of years, in terms of how they shape the overall rhetoric of the text. My doctoral adviser at Emory University, John H. Hayes, provided useful guidance, particularly in considering the historical context of Hosea’s oracles. His humor and encouragement were always appreciated. I thank Carol Newsom of Emory University for introducing me to the work of James Fernandez and for her helpful comments on my dissertation, from which this work emerged. I also thank the other members of my committee, Martin Buss and Luke Johnson. I am grateful to Marvin Chaney at the Graduate Theological Union for bringing to my awareness the idea that the rhetoric of the book may not be primarily directed at religious apostasy and for pointing out the large number of male images in the book. As I was working on this project, masculinity studies began to emerge with increasing prominence in biblical studies and I thank Stephen Moore, not only for his pioneering work in the field, but for reviewing the sections of my work devoted to masculinity studies. My colleagues Rob von Thaden and Brian Alderman read the early forms of the manuscript closely and provided much needed moral support through the process. I especially thank my husband Victor Lee who has always encouraged me in my endeavors and who helped with the proofreading. A research appointment at the University of Mount Union helped me to prepare the work for publication,...

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