Old Testament Essays
On-line version ISSN 2312-3621
WITTENBERG, Gunther. In search of the right metaphor: A response to Peet van Dyk's "Challenges in the search for an ecotheology" Part two: Searching for an alternative. Old testam. essays [online]. 2010, vol.23, n.3, pp. 889-912. ISSN 2312-3621.
This article continues with the investigation of the dominion metaphor in Gen 1:28 that was published in OTE 23 (2). In the first section the author deals with alternative proposals to this metaphor, namely Earth as voice and the world as God's body. The former suggests an ecojustice hermeneutic as proposed by Norman Habel and the latter suggests a feminist critique as poposed by Sallie McFague. In the second section the author turns to an investigation of the transformation of the dominion metaphor in the Christ Hymn, Col 1:15-20. In the Bible attempts at mediating between God's transcendence and his immanence were pursued along two different paths, either following a Gnostic or Hellenistic Jewish dualistic speculative framework followed by traditional scholarship -Käsemann, Lohse, Schweizer), or within a pantheistic, (panentheistic) monistic framework, Stoicism. Only recently with a different structural analysis leading to the affirmation of the unity of the text, has the second route been pursued (van Kooten, Pizzuto, Balabanski). The latter reveals the rich imagery of the hymn celebrating Christ's role in creation (image of God; firstborn of creation; creator and head of the cosmic body) and in redemption (head of the body, the Church; firstborn of the dead; reconciler of all things) become evident. Both parts of the hymn are kept in balance by the central metaphor linking creation and redemption (in Christ all things hold together), the perfect image for the interconnectedness of all things. The final evaluation points to the great opportunity offered by the Colossian hymn, not only for the search of the right metaphor but equally for formulating an ecotheology.