Volume 13, Issue 1
  • ISSN 2210-4070
  • E-ISSN: 2210-4097
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes



This paper considers the use of figurative language when intangible or supernatural phenomena are described in language. The case studies are derived from texts written in Ancient Egyptian, an extinct Afroasiatic language (ca. 3200 –1300 ). It is argued that a MIPVU-based analysis, otherwise very useful for interrogating all kinds of texts, even those from the ancient world, needs to be modified to account for the layers of meaning encountered in texts in which a deity is being described. A more nuanced approach, which considers the scalarity of metaphor and reconsiders the conceptual modelling of metaphorical language in a culturally sensitive way, is proposed. As such, the methods proposed here may be useful for scholars working on metaphor in texts with religious content.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Allan, Keith
    (1977) Classifiers. Language, 53(2), 285–311. 10.1353/lan.1977.0043
    https://doi.org/10.1353/lan.1977.0043 [Google Scholar]
  2. Assmann, J.
    (1999) Ägyptische Hymnen und Gebete [Egyptian Hymns and Prayers]. 2nd Revised Edition. Universitätsverlag / Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.
    [Google Scholar]
  3. (2001) The Search for God in Ancient Egypt. Transl.D. Lorton. Cornell University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. Biernacka, E.
    (2013) A discourse dynamics investigation of metonymy in talk. (PhD thesis). The Open University, England, UK. 10.21954/ou.ro.0000d5c8
    https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000d5c8 [Google Scholar]
  5. Black, M.
    (1962) Models and Metaphors. Cornell University Press. 10.7591/9781501741326
    https://doi.org/10.7591/9781501741326 [Google Scholar]
  6. Bonnet, H.
    (1999 [1939]) On Understanding Syncretism. Transl. J. Baines. Orientalia. Nova Series, 68(3), 181–198.
    [Google Scholar]
  7. Černý, J.
    (1962) Egyptian Oracles. InR. A. Parker (Ed.), A Saite oracle papyrus from Thebes in the Brooklyn Museum (Papyrus Brooklyn 47.218.3) (pp. 35–54). Brown University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  8. Certeau, M. de
    (1984) The Practice of Everyday Life. Transl.S. Rendall. University of California Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  9. Chantrain, G. & Di Biase-Dyson, C.
    (2018) Making a case for multidimensionality in Ramesside figurative language. InD. A. Werning (Ed.), Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Egyptian-Coptic Linguistics (Crossroads V) (pp. 41–66). Widmaier.
    [Google Scholar]
  10. Cognitive Linguistics Group
    Cognitive Linguistics Group (1991) Master Metaphor List. 2nd Edition. University of California at Berkeley. araw.mede.uic.edu/~alansz/metaphor/METAPHORLIST.pdf
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Dancygier, B. & Sweetser, E.
    (2014) Figurative Language. Cambridge University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  12. DesCamp, M. T. & Sweetser, E.
    (2005) Metaphors for God: Why and How Do Our Choices Matter for Humans? The Application of Contemporary Cognitive Linguistics Research to the Debate on God and Metaphor. Pastoral Psychology, 53(3), 207–238. 10.1007/s11089‑004‑0554‑5
    https://doi.org/10.1007/s11089-004-0554-5 [Google Scholar]
  13. Di Biase-Dyson, C.
    (2013) Foreigners and Egyptians in the Late Egyptian Stories: linguistic, literary and historical perspectives. Brill. 10.1163/9789004251304
    https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004251304 [Google Scholar]
  14. (2017) Metaphor. InJ. Stauder-Porchet, A. Stauder & W. Wendrich (Eds.), UCLA Encyclopedia of Egyptology. https://escholarship.org/uc/item/4z62d3nn
    [Google Scholar]
  15. (2021) Review ofNacey, S., Dorst, A. G., Krennmayr, T. & Reijnierse, W. G. (Eds.) (2019) “Metaphor Identification in Multiple Languages: MIPVU around the world”. Metaphor and the Social World, 11(2), 374–382. 10.1075/msw.00025.bia
    https://doi.org/10.1075/msw.00025.bia [Google Scholar]
  16. Di Biase-Dyson, C., Kammerzell, F. & Werning, D. A.
    (2009) Glossing Ancient Egyptian. Suggestions for adapting the Leipzig Glossing Rules. InM. Müller & S. Uljas (Eds.), Proceedings of Crossroads IV, Conference of Egyptian Language Studies, Basel, March 2009 (pp. 343–366). Seminar für Ägyptologie und Koptologie, Georg-August Universität Göttingen.
    [Google Scholar]
  17. Di Biase-Dyson, C. & Egg, M.
    (Eds.) (2020) Drawing attention to metaphor: Case studies across time periods, cultures and modalities. John Benjamins. 10.1075/ftl.5
    https://doi.org/10.1075/ftl.5 [Google Scholar]
  18. Digitalisiertes Zettelarchiv (DZA)
    Digitalisiertes Zettelarchiv (DZA). aaew.bbaw.de/tla/servlet/DzaIdx?u=gast&f=0&l=0
  19. Dorst, A. G., Mulder, G. & Steen, G. J.
    (2011) Recognition of personifications in fiction by non-expert readers. Metaphor and the Social World, 1(2), 174–201. 10.1075/msw.1.2.04dor
    https://doi.org/10.1075/msw.1.2.04dor [Google Scholar]
  20. Eliade, M. & Sullivan, L. E.
    (1986) Hierophany. InM. Eliade (Ed.), The Encyclopedia of Religion, Volume61 (pp.313–317). Macmillan / Collier.
    [Google Scholar]
  21. Erman, A. & Grapow, H.
    (1971 [1926–1931]) Wörterbuch der ägyptischen Sprache [Dictionary of the Egyptian Language]. 51Volumes. Reprint Edition. Akademie-Verlag.
    [Google Scholar]
  22. (1973 [1935–1953]) Wörterbuch der ägyptischen Sprache, Belegstellen [Dictionary of the Egyptian Language, Source References]. 51Volumes. Reprint Edition. Akademie-Verlag.
    [Google Scholar]
  23. Evola, V.
    (2010) A Multimodal Analysis of Individuals’ Beliefs and Metaphors in Words, Gestures and Drawings. InF. Parrill, V. Tobin & M. Turner (Eds.), Form, Meaning, and Body (pp. 41–60). CSLI Publications.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. Frye, R. M.
    (1988) Language for God and Feminist Language: Problems and Principles. Scottish Journal of Theology, 41(4), 441–470. 10.1017/S0036930600031744
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0036930600031744 [Google Scholar]
  25. Gardiner, A. H.
    (1935) Hieratic Papyri in the British Museum, Third Series. Chester Beatty Gift. 21Volumes. British Museum.
    [Google Scholar]
  26. Goatly, A.
    (2011) The Language of Metaphors. 2nd Edition. Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  27. Goldwasser, O.
    (1995) From icon to metaphor. Studies in the semiotics of the hieroglyphs. Universitätsverlag / Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.
    [Google Scholar]
  28. Goossens, L.
    (1990) Metaphtonymy: The interaction of metaphor and metonymy in expressions for linguistic action. Cognitive Linguistics, 1(3), 323–340. 10.1515/cogl.1990.1.3.323
    https://doi.org/10.1515/cogl.1990.1.3.323 [Google Scholar]
  29. Hangarter, R. P.
    (2000) Solar Tracking. Plants in Motion. Indiana University, Department of Biology. https://plantsinmotion.bio.indiana.edu/plantmotion/movements/tropism/solartrack/solartrack.html
    [Google Scholar]
  30. Harrison, V. S.
    (2007) Metaphor, religious language and religious experience. Sophia: International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, 46(2), 127–145. 10.1007/s11841‑007‑0018‑3
    https://doi.org/10.1007/s11841-007-0018-3 [Google Scholar]
  31. Howe, B. & Sweetser, E.
    (2009) Cognitive Linguistics and Biblical Interpretation. InS. L. McKenzie (Ed.), Oxford Encyclopedia of Biblical Interpretation. www.oxfordbiblicalcstudies.com/article/opr/t373/e8
    [Google Scholar]
  32. Ibarretxe-Antuñano, I.
    (2013) The relationship between conceptual metaphor and culture. Intercultural Pragmatics, 10(2), 315–339. 10.1515/ip‑2013‑0014
    https://doi.org/10.1515/ip-2013-0014 [Google Scholar]
  33. Junge, F.
    (1978) Wirklichkeit und Abbild. Zum innerägyptischen Synkretismus und zur Weltsicht der Hymnen des Neuen Reiches [Reality and Image. On Inner-Egyptian Syncretism and the World View of the Hymns of the New Kingdom.]. InG. Wiessner (Ed.), Synkretismusforschung. Theorie und Praxis [Syncretism Research. Theory and Practice] (pp.87–108). Harrassowitz.
    [Google Scholar]
  34. Kitchen, K. A.
    (1980) Ramesside Inscriptions: historical and biographical, III. Blackwell.
    [Google Scholar]
  35. Kövecses, Z.
    (2005) Metaphor in Culture: Universality and Variation. Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9780511614408
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511614408 [Google Scholar]
  36. (2010) Metaphor: A practical introduction. 2nd Edition. Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  37. Krzeszowski, T. P.
    (1997) Angels and Devils in Hell: Elements of Axiology in Semantics. Wydawnictwo Energeia.
    [Google Scholar]
  38. Lakoff, G. & Johnson, M.
    (1980) Metaphors we live by. University of Chicago Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  39. Lakoff, G., & Turner, M.
    (1989) More than cool reason: A field guide to poetic metaphor. University of Chicago Press. 10.7208/chicago/9780226470986.001.0001
    https://doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226470986.001.0001 [Google Scholar]
  40. Littlemore, J. & Turner, S.
    (2020) Metaphors in communication about pregnancy loss. Metaphor and the Social World, 10(1), 45–75. 10.1075/msw.18030.lit
    https://doi.org/10.1075/msw.18030.lit [Google Scholar]
  41. Luiselli, M. M.
    (2008) Personal Piety. InJacco Dieleman & Willeke Wendrich (Eds.), UCLA Encyclopedia of Egyptology. digital2.library.ucla.edu/viewItem.do?ark=21198/zz000s3mss
    [Google Scholar]
  42. (2011) Die Suche nach Gottesnähe: Untersuchungen zur persönlichen Frömmigkeit in Ägypten von der 1. Zwischenzeit bis zum Ende des Neuen Reiches [The Search for Closeness to God: Studies on Personal Piety in Egypt from the First Intermediate Period to the End of the New Kingdom]. Harrassowitz.
    [Google Scholar]
  43. Lüscher, B. [Google Scholar]
  44. Nacey, S., Dorst, A. G., Krennmayr, T. & Reijnierse, W. G.
    (2019) MIPVU in multiple languages. InS. Nacey, A. G. Dorst, T. Krennmayr, & W. G. Reijnierse (Eds.), Metaphor Identification in Multiple Languages: MIPVU around the world (pp. 2–21). John Benjamins. 10.1075/celcr.22.01nac
    https://doi.org/10.1075/celcr.22.01nac [Google Scholar]
  45. Nyord, R.
    (2017) Analogy and metaphor in ancient medicine and the ancient Egyptian conceptualization of heat in the body. InJ. Wee (Ed.), The comparable body: Imagination and analogy in ancient anatomy and physiology (pp. 12–42). Brill.
    [Google Scholar]
  46. (2020) Seeing Perfection. Ancient Egyptian Images Beyond Representation. Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/9781108881494
    https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108881494 [Google Scholar]
  47. Panther, K.-U. & Radden, G.
    (Eds.) (1999) Metonymy in language and thought. John Benjamins. 10.1075/hcp.4
    https://doi.org/10.1075/hcp.4 [Google Scholar]
  48. Potter, D.
    (2018) Deictic Motion Verbs and Divine Interaction. Placing the Individual and the Divine in Time and Space. InG. Chantrain & J. Winand (Eds.), Time and Space at Issue in Ancient Egypt (pp. 183–207). Widmaier Verlag.
    [Google Scholar]
  49. Ramses Online
    Ramses Online. ramses.ulg.ac.be/
  50. Semino, E.
    (2008) Metaphor in discourse. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  51. Simpson, W. K.
    (1974) The Terrace of the Great God at Abydos: The Offering Chapels of Dynasties 12 and 13. Peabody Museum / The University Museum of the University of Pennsylvania.
    [Google Scholar]
  52. Soskice, H.
    (1985) Metaphor and Religious Language. Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  53. Steen, G. J.
    (2008) The paradox of metaphor: Why we need a three-dimensional model of metaphor. Metaphor and Symbol, 231, 213–241. 10.1080/10926480802426753
    https://doi.org/10.1080/10926480802426753 [Google Scholar]
  54. Steen, G. J., Dorst, A. G., Herrmann, J. B., Kaal, A. A., Krennmayr, T. & Pasma, T.
    (2010) A Method for Linguistic Metaphor Identification. From MIP to MIPVU. John Benjamins. 10.1075/celcr.14
    https://doi.org/10.1075/celcr.14 [Google Scholar]
  55. Thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae (TLA)
    Thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae (TLA). aaew.bbaw.de
  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): Ancient Egyptian language; belief; cognition; metaphor analysis; religion
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error