While most treatments of biblical metaphor examine individual metaphors in isolation, Sarah J. Dille presents a model for interpretation based on their interaction with one another. Using Lakoff and Johnson's category of "metaphoric coherence", she argues that when nonconsistent or contradictory metaphors appear together in a literary unit, the areas of overlap (coherence) are highlighted in each. Using the images of father and mother in Deutero-Isaiah as a starting point, she explores how these images interact with others: for example, the divine warrior, the redeeming kinsman, the artisan of clay, or the husband. The juxtaposition of diverse metaphors (common in Hebrew prophetic literature) highlights common "entailments", enabling the reader to see aspects of the image which would be overlooked or invisible if read in isolation. Dille argues that any metaphor for God can only be understood if it is read or heard in interaction with others within a particular cultural context.
God as Mother and Father in Deutero-Isaiah
Mind, Body & Spirit