Publication details [#11008]

Publication type
Article in book  
Publication language
Place, Publisher
Bern: Peter Lang International Academic Publishers


Jean-Pierre van Noppen was one of the early advocates of a metaphorical theolinguistics (cf. his ‘Spatial Metaphors in Contemporary British Religious Prose’, 1974; ‘Alter Wein in neuen Schläuchen ?’, 1976; his Ph. D. thesis 'Spatial Theography', 1980; and the collective volumes 'Theolinguistics', 1981; 'Metaphor and Religion', 1983; and 'Erinnern, um Neues zu sagen', 1988). This paper, typical of metaphorical theography before the emergence of the conceptual/cognitive paradigm, illustrates how metaphor progressively came to be accepted as a possible answer to the positivistic indictment that religious language was a meaningless misuse of language. Van Noppen’s own contribution to the debate at the time was a delineation of errors in metaphor comprehension and interpretation, epitomised in religious language, based on a corpus of non-elicited religious utterances. While the logic of metaphorical theography can be delineated in terms of a familiar language process, the interpretation of religious metaphors requires awareness of the particular context, where images are conditioned by the root metaphors which shape the belief system. This belief system may require terms to be detached from their ‘ordinary’ meanings and associations. (Ralph Bisschops)