Publication details [#4319]

Eidevall, Göran. 1996. Grapes in the Desert: Metaphors, Models and Themes in Hosea 4-14. Lund: Almqvist. 284 pp.
Publication type
Book – monograph
Publication language


This study explores the textual world of Hosea 4-14. To this end it uses a melhod informed by modern metaphor theory. At the outset, the hypothesis that chapters 4-14 in the book of Hosea constitute a coherent literary composition is submitted. The perspectival theory advanced by Eva F. Kittay is selected as a theoretical basis for the analysis. This theory is supplemented by insights derived from some related metaphor theories. The contours of a new exegetical approach, metaphorical criticism, are outlined. The main part of the study consists of textual analysis of Hosea 4-14. Each metaphor and simile is analysed: Its contextual function is assessed, and important intratextual and intertextual connections are registered. In the next step, the text is scanned for traces of influential models. Finally, the multiple functions served by prominent themes are studied. In the concluding part, the results from the analysis are systematized in a number of different ways. It is shown that the representations of the people (Ephraim/Israel) are characterized by two specific modes, namely personification and victimization. In an attempt to uncover important ideological dimensions, the relational models which underlie the text's metaphors are compared to each other: the monarchial, the judicial, the covenantal, the parental, and the agricultural model. The impact of these models on the polemical passages in the text is critically examined. It is argued that "God is king" functions as a root metaphor within the discourse. In the concluding vision in 14:2-9, however, there occurs a "paradigm shift" from hierarchy to reciprocity. In addition, a number of themes are identified. These themes are shown to create coherence as well as dynamics throughout the discourse. Some prominent themes are chosen as points of departure for metaphorical readings of the entire composition. The conspicuous use of "reversals" is discussed. The study is concluded by some attempts to uncover structural patterns in the textual world of Hosea 4-14. These essays discuss fertility/sterility as a basic code, the sacrificial system as a matrix. (Göran Eidevall)