Publication details [#6988]

Kubias, Craig Owen. 1991. The emergence of metaphor theory in religious thought: 1965-1980. Denver, Colo.. 170 pp.
Publication type
Ph.D dissertation
Publication language


Religious metaphor redescribes reality, schematizes religious experience, and gives structure to the Background. This thesis is defended by offering a revised version of Paul Ricoeur's theory of metaphor. Ricoeur provides an account of how metaphor structures human imagination through the world of the text and split reference. Ricoeur creates serious problems in his analysis of religious metaphor when he makes religious metaphor a special case of poetic metaphor in general, however. While Ricoeur shows how religious metaphor redescribes reality, he fails to take into account how religious metaphor plays a constitutive role in articulating religious experience, nor does he account for the way religious metaphor organizes other values and attitudes held in common by a religious community. The work of Mark Johnson offers the needed correctives to Ricoeur's account of religious metaphor. In particular, Johnson argues that imagination plays a central role in human cognition in general. Furthermore, Johnson maintains that the meaning of metaphorical statements is not limited to the level of the sentence. To fully account for metaphorical meaning, we must include the Background (adapted from John Searle) of shared capacities, attitudes, values and beliefs that a language speaking community holds in common. When the central role of imagination in human cognition is taken into account along with the place of the Background in elucidating metaphorical meaning, a revised version of Ricoeur's metaphor theory can be developed that gives an adequate explanation of the use and function of religious metaphor. (Dissertation Abstracts)