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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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2 Masculinity and Metaphor: An Approach to Analysis 31


CHAPTER TWO Masculinity and Metaphor An Approach to Analysis There may even be reason for believing, if we can learn from frogs in this regard, that what our ears, eyes, mouths are really telling our brains—or what the brain finally understands from what it is told— about the bloom and buzz of experience is the essential qualitative pat- tern of potency, activity, and goodness (edibility) of the things which catch our attention. James W. Fernandez, Persuasions and Performances Masculinity Theory n this chapter I will introduce some of the basic ideas of masculinity theory and propose a model of social space developed in the field of cognitive anthropology as helpful ways to analyze the function of the figurative language in Hosea. Masculinity theory is useful for analyzing both the imagery that is obviously related to gender and that which is not, because the majority of figurative language in Hosea reflects an un- derstanding of masculinity similar to the language directly addressing gender. Both types of imagery rhetorically move the audience in the same directions. In order to analyze both the gender and non-gender imagery and their relation to the construction of masculinity in the text, I will uti- lize the model of anthropologist James Fernandez. His studies explore how societies use metaphorical language to establish, maintain, and change identities and relationships within a particular social setting.1 Us- ing information from computational linguistics, he has developed a mod- el that can evaluate the movements metaphors cause along the axes of...

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