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Old Testament Essays

versão On-line ISSN 2312-3621
versão impressa ISSN 1010-9919

Old testam. essays vol.21 no.2 Pretoria  2008


Image schemata of containment and path as underlying structures for core metaphors in Psalm 142



Alec Basson

Department of Ancient Studies, University of Stellenbosch





The psalms of lamentation depict a situation in which waves of anguish threaten to engulf the righteous. Surrounded by hostile forces, voices of distress implore Yahweh to intervene in a transformative and restorative manner. The supplicant bemoans the fact that the adversaries have hidden snares in his path in an attempt to bring about his downfall. It should therefore come as no surprise that in the psalms of lamentation snares symbolise containment and subsequent separation from Yahweh and the religious community. Psalm 142 can be regarded as a case in point. Drawing on the most recent assumptions related to image schema research, this contribution argues that the container image schema serves as the underlying structure of the psalmist's metaphorical reference to the hidden snare and the experience of being led out of prison. In addition, the exploration elucidates the link between the container image schema and the path image schema in Psalm 142. The investigation illustrates how the poet's bodily experience of containment and motion along a path allows for the conceptualisation of and reasoning about particular abstract domains.



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Alec Basson
Department of Ancient Studies
University of Stellenbosch, Private Bag X1, Matieland, 7602, South Africa

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