Publication details [#10548]

Szlos, MaryBeth B. 2001. Metaphor in Proverbs 31:10 - 31: A cognitive approach. New York.. 336 pp.
Publication type
Ph.D dissertation
Publication language


The acrostic poem in Proverbs 31:10 - 31 is a highly crafted work in which figuration plays a major role. In setting out to examine the metaphors in this poem, we find that no agreed on or consistent theory of metaphor exists in biblical studies, though many have been articulated in literary criticism. George Lakoff's cognitive approach to metaphor is described, and in conjunction with traditional philology, we present the semantic fields of the Biblical Hebrew terms used in the poem. Images of power and military might are shown to convey the metaphor "THE WOMAN IS A WARRIOR". Images of textile manufacture and commerce and the frequent use of the body parts of labor depict the metaphor "THE WOMAN IS A LABORER". Images of provision and surplus, wealth, social status, and security depict the metaphor "THE WOMAN IS A SUCCESS". A global reading of the poem shows that the rich imagery of the first verse, 31:10, introduces aspects of the warrior, laborer, and success metaphors and describes how these three metaphor maps work together throughout the poem. The text reverses the usual understandings of a woman's value and demands of the audience recognition of the physical, commercial, economic, and social power of 'eshet-chayil', the "Powerful Woman". (Dissertation Abstracts)