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Document Details :
Title: Metaphora Interrupta
Subtitle: Psalm 133
Author(s): DOYLE, Brian
Journal: Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses
Volume: 77 Issue: 1 Date: April 2001
In his excellent book The Centrality of Metaphors to Biblical Thought, P.W. Macky offers a description what he calls “expressive metaphor” which Ps 133 clearly fits: metaphorical speech intended to verbalise a feeling by describing an illusive partly mysterious human state – harmonious living – using familiar and highly sensuous images of oil running over a man's body. A description of how it feels to enjoy harmonious living could have avoided such sensuous images, yet without them a more literal approach would probably have fallen short of the powerful effect of the expressive metaphor. Not everyone, however, would agree to the presence of metaphor in this psalm, let alone one so expressive and powerful. We will begin our study of Ps 133, therefore, with a brief review of recent and sometimes not so recent research into the psalm in order to gain some insight into the treatment of what we believe to be a metaphorical statement has evolved. Of course, it will be part of our responsibility to justify our belief in the presence of metaphor here and this will constitute the main part of the paper. For the sake of brevity, therefore, after a short review of the questions raised by the history of research into the psalm, we will limit ourselves here in the introduction to those scholars who deal with the figurative dimensions of the psalm but do not view it directly as metaphorical and the few scholars who understand the psalm to contain a metaphorical statement.