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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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3 Predications of Gender-Based Imagery 55


CHAPTER THREE Predications of Gender-Based Imagery The first strategy of anyone who puts forth a metaphor in predication about a pronoun is to pick a domain of equivalence whose members have some apt shock value when applied to a pronoun and give perspec- tive by incongruity. James W. Fernandez, Persuasions and Performances ender-based imagery is the most common metaphorical category in Hosea. Both female and male imagery are present in the text, but while the female imagery has received considerable atten- tion, the male imagery has been neglected. Both types, however, can be illuminated by the application of masculinity studies. After providing a brief survey of the ways masculinity theory has begun to be used within biblical studies, I will look closely at the gender imagery in Hosea. The female imagery divides into two sub-categories: female as subject and female as object. I analyze the male imagery with respect to seven differ- ent markers, which can be divided into sexual relationships and potency images. With both female and male imagery I focus on their implications for the construction of masculinity. Finally, I examine how the predica- tion of the gender imagery on the male audience affects its position in social space, as defined by the three axes of activity, potency, and good- ness. Masculinity Studies of the Bible Biblical scholars have begun to see masculinity studies as a useful way to probe the text. Ancient Israel shares characteristics with some of the so- cieties mentioned in the previous chapter, which...

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