Metaphor Competition in the Book of Job
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Within the book of Job, the interlocutors (Job, the friends, and Yahweh) seem to largely ignore one another's arguments.
This observation leads some to propose that the dialogue lacks conceptual coherence. Lance Hawley argues that the interlocutors tangentially and sometimes overtly attend to previously stated points of view and attempt to persuade their counterparts through the employment of metaphor.
Hawley uses the theoretical approach of Conceptual Metaphor Theory to trace the concepts of speech and animals throughout the dialogue. Beyond explaining the individual metaphors in particular texts, he shows how speech metaphors compete with one another, most perceptibly in the expressions of job's words are wind. With regard to animal metaphors, coherence is especially perceptible in the job is a predatory animal metaphor. In these expressions, the dialogue demonstrates intentional picking-up on previously stated arguments.
Hawley argues that the animal images in the divine speeches are not metaphorical, in spite of recent scholarly interpretation that reads them as such. Rather, Yahweh appears as a sage to question the negative status of wild animals that Job and his friends assume in their significations of people are animals. This is especially apparent in Yahweh's strophes on the lion and the wild donkey, both of which appear multiple times in the metaphorical expressions of Job and his friends.