A Walk They Remembered: Covenant Relationship as Journey in the Deuteronomistic History

In: Biblical Interpretation
Michael J. Seufert Catholic University of America, USA

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Multiple recurrent phrases have been identified in the so-called Deuteronomistic History describing Israel’s obedience/disobedience with respect to the Sinaitic covenant. One major set of phrases utilizes verbs of motion to construe Israel’s covenant relationship with Yhwh. The conceptual metaphor theory of George Lakoff and Mark Johnson provides the theoretical tools necessary to understand these deuteronomic phrases as instantiations of a single conceptual metaphor wherein Israel understood and experienced their relationship with Yhwh as a journey. This article examines and coordinates these recurrent phrases through the lens provided by Lakoff and Johnson’s theory, detailing how the spatial configurations of each verb and its construct are mapped onto a relational reality. This article closes with the brief suggestion that the resonance of this particular conceptual metaphor may have taken hold due to the significance of the exodus event in Israel’s historical consciousness.

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