Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Like a Lion and the Morning Dawn: Reconceiving Yahweh through the Metaphors of Hosea 4–14
by Lancaster, Mason D., Ph.D., Wheaton College, 2020, 416; 28024127
Abstract (Summary)

The diversity of Hosea 4–14’s metaphors for God has long challenged interpreters. How can God be a bereaved parent, a devouring lion, life-giving dew, and all the other portrayals offered in this prophetic book? The present study seeks to construct a Hosean metaphorical theology. It asks, Who is Yahweh according to the metaphors of Hosea 4–14?

Recognizing that metaphors tend to cluster in places of rhetorical significance, the study adopts theories and tools from recent metaphor studies, especially those on metaphor clusters and a recognition that metaphors redescribe reality (chapter 2). It identifies 105 metaphors for God in fifteen clusters in Hosea 4–14 and analyzes their internal poetic interactions, considering how and why individual metaphors within each cluster relate to one another (chapter 3). It then observes affective, literary, and rhetorical patterns across clusters (chapter 4). These perspectives highlight five divine emotions, metaphor appropriation and inversion, and the metaphors’ rhetorical purpose of provoking a return to Yahweh.

The final chapter integrates the interpretive conclusions from preceding chapters and develops a theological description of God as presented in Hosea 4–14. It begins by addressing three challenges surfaced by the metaphors. Then, the recognition of Hosea’s aspective approach to Yahweh’s portrayal leads to a constellation of divine aspects integrating all 105 metaphors. Five theological characteristics arising from metaphors in Hosea 4–14 are identified. Yahweh is unknown, knowable, yet never exhaustively so; passionate; historically engaged; Israel’s exclusive sovereign; and committed to Israel. This final characteristic, loyalty, undergirds the other four characteristics, the fifteen clusters, the three most common metaphor domains, and the rhetorical purpose of repentance.

This study enriches our understanding of God by drawing attention to the variety of Hosea’s metaphors, the emotional life of God in Hosea, the aspective nature of Hosea’s presentation, and some theological implications of Hosea 4–14’s diverse metaphors.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Carroll R., M. Daniel
Commitee: Miglio, Adam E., Kelle, Brad E., Treier, Daniel
School: Wheaton College
Department: Biblical and Theological Studies
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: DAI-A 82/1(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Biblical studies, Religion, Theology
Keywords: God, Hosea, Metaphor, Old Testament, Prophets
Publication Number: 28024127
ISBN: 9798662411418
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