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Mother Zion in Deutero-Isaiah

A Metaphor for Zion Theology


Maggie Low

Mother Zion in Deutero-Isaiah: A Metaphor for Zion Theology offers the unique perspective that personified mother Zion in Deutero-Isaiah is not just a metaphor used for a rhetorical purpose but a cognitive metaphor representing Zion theology, a central theme in the Book of Isaiah. The author deftly combines the methods of metaphor theory and intertextuality to explain the vital but often overlooked conundrum that Zion in Deutero-Isaiah is an innocent mother, unlike the adulterous wife in other prophetic books. This interpretation offers a vital corrective to the view of women in the biblical context. As a result of this usage, Deutero-Isaiah paradoxically presents Yahweh the Creator as the one who gives birth to the people, not mother Zion. This understanding explains the concentration of gynomorphic imagery used for God in this prophetic book, providing a counterbalance to patriarchal perspectives of God. Finally, a fresh insight is offered into the ongoing debate between universalism and nationalism in Deutero-Isaiah, based on the premise that as a symbol of Zion theology, mother Zion represents Yahweh’s universal sovereignty rather than a nationalistic ethnicity. Mother Zion in Deutero-Isaiah is an invaluable resource in courses that deal with issues in Isaiah, biblical interpretation, and feminist hermeneutics, especially regarding the feminine personification of Zion and the maternal imagery of God.


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181 CHAPTER SEVEN CONCLUSION I. SUMMARY The study of personified Zion in DI shows that this metaphor is not just a poetic expression to evoke empathy from the readers through the suffering of a female figure. More fundamentally, the figure of mother Zion also communicates beliefs from Zion theology to assure the hearers that YHWH will bring about restoration because YHWH the creator remains committed to YHWH’s city. Such an understanding of Zion in DI explains various apparent incongruities in her presentation: Unlike other prophetic texts, DI portrays Zion as an innocent mother and not as an adulterous wife because she is not the sinful people but the holy city; secondly, despite being a mother, it is not Zion who gives birth to Israel but YHWH, since YHWH is the creator of YHWH’s people; and thirdly, DI depicts Zion nationalistically as a demonstration of YHWH’s and not Israel’s, sovereignty. Chapter One reviews two methods used to analyze DI’s depiction of Zion. First, Lakoff and Johnson’s metaphor theory provides the principles and terminology for understanding how mother Zion functions as a cognitive metaphor. This involves determining the target of the source Zion, i.e., whether it is the place or the people that is represented and recognizing how the rhetorical context may highlight, downplay, hide, or extend a metaphor in different ways. The second method is the study of intertextual allusions, and I offer an eclectic approach to ascertain how DI appropriates and transforms former prophetic usages of the personified city. This...

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