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All in a Week's Work: Using Conceptual Metaphor Theory to Explain Figurative Meaning in Genesis 1.

1. Introduction and Rationale

The discipline of biblical interpretation is gradually incorporating modern insights from communication theory and applied linguistics, fields which have recently seen paradigm shifts in several areas. Some of these shifts have been driven by advances in cognitive science, in which emerging technology for enhanced neuroimaging has allowed researchers to study brain activity during language processing in new ways. It often takes time for what is considered established theory in one field to influence ideas and methodologies in another field.

In biblical interpretation, it is not uncommon to see people relying on assumptions that are based on a model of communication and approaches to meaning that have been mostly discarded in the fields of cognitive psychology and linguistics. Ideas cross over slowly, but eventually have impact. Some current scholarship in biblical interpretation and theology is endeavoring to apply more-recent insights from various linguistic subdisciplines. For example, Bible scholars and theologians have begun incorporating insights from speech act theory, (1) relevance theory, (2) discourse analysis, (3) and cognitive linguistics. (4) This article is offered in that interdisciplinary spirit, to encourage application of an established cognitive linguistic model for analyzing figurative language to the discipline of biblical interpretation.

In discussions of how to interpret the days of creation week in Genesis 1, people are usually defending one of three options: the word "day" has a normal, literal sense, and the whole passage conveys literal meaning; the word "day" has a figurative sense and the whole passage conveys figurative meaning; or the word "day" has a normal, literal sense,

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Christy Hemphill works with her husband Aaron on a minority language scripture translation project in southern Mexico. She has an MA in applied linguistics/TESOL from Old Dominion University and an MA in applied linguistics/Bible translation from Dallas International University.

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Title Annotation:Article
Author:Hemphill, Christy
Publication:Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith
Date:Dec 1, 2019
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