Interpreting Biblical Metaphors: Introducing the Invariance Principle

In: Vetus Testamentum
Author: Kevin Chau1
View More View Less
  • 1 Department of Hebrew, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South
Download Citation Get Permissions

Access options

Get access to the full article by using one of the access options below.

Institutional Login

Log in with Open Athens, Shibboleth, or your institutional credentials

Login via Institution


Buy instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access):


The scholarship concerning biblical metaphor has profited widely from the conceptual (cognitive) approach to metaphor, but a key principle from this approach, the Invariance Principle, has been widely overlooked as a valuable tool for the interpretation of biblical metaphors. The Invariance Principle allows biblical scholars to evaluate logically and with consistency the many varied interpretations that are often generated from exegetically difficult metaphors. This principle stipulates that the logical relationships of a metaphor’s source domain (the metaphorical elements) must correspond to the structure of logical relationships in the target domain (the literal elements). An extended analysis of the partridge metaphor in the riddle-based proverb of Jer 17:11 demonstrates how the Invariance Principle can be used to evaluate previous interpretations and to provide logical structure for generating a fresh interpretation to this proverb.

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 277 60 0
Full Text Views 223 9 0
PDF Views & Downloads 52 17 0