Metaphor and Methodology for Cross-Cultural Investigation of Hebrew Emotions

King, Phil
Feeling down or in a tight spot? How do we know what someone means when they tell us how they feel? How could we go further and explain how emotions are understood across cultures? This article looks at three approaches—the use of physiology, of key words, and of metaphors. This is followed by a demonstration of the insights from the metaphorical approach as applied to Anglo emotions. Applying this metaphorical approach to biblical Hebrew (where there is no access to native speakers) is much more difficult than to a living language. However, application of the Cognitive Linguistics of George Lakoff, Mark Johnson, Raymond Gibbs, John Taylor and others allows the construction of a methodology to give evidence for what emotions the Hebrew authors felt. This methodology is applied to Hebrew descriptions of distress to show how such emotions are conceptualised. The article also explains how this methodology can be applied more widely, to evaluate others’ claims about how the ancient Israelites thought and felt. Finally, some implications are given in the areas of Hebrew exegesis, cultural anthropology, and for the translation of “emotional” texts.
Content Language:
Subject Languages:
Nature of Work:
pages 9-24
Entry Number:
48 940