Worship That Makes Sense to Paul
A New Approach to the Theology and Ethics of Paul's Cultic MetaphorseBook - 2010
This book examines Paul's use of temple, priesthood, and sacrificial metaphors from a cognitive and socio-literary perspective. The final conclusion of a number of scholars in this area of research is that Paul's cultic metaphors have the theological and rhetorical purpose of encouraging community formation and moral living. Such evaluations, however, often take place without paying sufficient attention to the complexity of Paul's cultic imagery as well as, from a methodological standpoint, what metaphors are and how they are used in thinking and communicating.
Utilizing the tools and insights of conceptual metaphor theory, this study seeks to approach this topic afresh by attending to how metaphors constitute a necessary platform of cognition. Thus, they have world-constructing and perception-transforming utility. In this study, we conclude that, far from being merely about ethics or ecclesiology, Paul's cultic metaphors act as vehicles for communicating his ineffable theology and ethical perspective. By anchoring his converts' new experiences in Christ to the world of ancient cult, and its familiar set of terms and concepts, he was attempting to re-describe reality and develop a like-minded community of faith by articulating logikē latreia- 'worship that makes sense'.