Metaphors and Social Identity Formation in Paul's Letters to the Corinthians
Why did Paul frequently employ a diverse range of metaphors in his letters to the Corinthians? Was the choice of these metaphors a random act or a carefully crafted rhetorical strategy? Did the use of metaphors shape the worldview and behavior of the Christ-followers? In this innovative work, Kar Yong Lim draws upon Conceptual Metaphor Theory and Social Identity Theory to answer these questions. Lim illustrates that Paul employs a cluster of metaphors--namely, sibling, familial, temple, and body metaphors--as cognitive tools that are central to how humans process information, construct reality, and shape group identity. Carefully chosen, these metaphors not only add colors to Paul's rhetorical strategy but also serve as a powerful tool of communication in shaping the thinking, governing the behavior, and constructing the social identity of the Corinthian Christ-followers. ""Lim's monograph provides a theoretically sophisticated reading of 1-2 Corinthians that highlights the identity-forming power of metaphor and the way Paul systematically draws on it in the formation of a salient social identity rooted in his gospel. This work sets a new standard for the social-scientific analysis of Paul."" --J. Brian Tucker, Professor of New Testament, Bible and Theology Division, Moody Theological Seminary ""That metaphors are powerful cognitive devices in the Corinthians' correspondence which actually contribute to the transformation of the Christ-followers' thinking and behavior is convincingly argued by Kar Yong Lim in this illuminating study. Taking seriously the Roman social reality of the Corinthians, he skillfully demonstrates the fruitful interplay of Social Identity Theory with Paul's use of metaphors and thereby makes a highly significant contribution to the understanding of identity-forming processes in the early Christ movement."" --Kathy Ehrensperger, Abraham Geiger College, University of Potsdam ""Lim illumines the rich tapestry of Paul's frequent use of the metaphors of siblings, family, temple, and body in the Corinthian letters, pointing to their indispensable role in the symbolic construction of social identity of the addressees. He demonstrates how these operate to create a strong sense of shared belonging and solidarity in which diversity is simultaneously affirmed and celebrated."" --William S. Campbell, University of Wales, Trinity Saint David Kar Yong Lim is Lecturer in New Testament Studies and Director of Postgraduate Studies at Seminari Theoloji Malaysia (Malaysia Theological Seminary), Seremban, Malaysia.
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Metaphors and Social Identity Formation in Paul’s Letters to the Corinthians
Kar Yong Lim
Limited preview - 2017