The narrative of Ephesians 2:11-22: motion towards maximal proximity and higher status

Jiménez Quintana, Oscar Enrique (2020) The narrative of Ephesians 2:11-22: motion towards maximal proximity and higher status. PhD thesis, Middlesex University / London School of Theology. [Thesis]

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This thesis argues that Ephesians 2:11-22 has a narrative structure, and it adopts, adapts, and implements tools and insights from cognitive linguistics to understand how the metaphors present in Ephesians 2:11-22 fit within the narrative of the text. This work’s main thrust is to establish a reasonable and plausible approximation of what the audience might have understood.

Earlier studies have approached each of these metaphors individually; others have read the metaphors through the lens of a chosen motif; and other projects have focused primarily on the temple. In this project, I argue that the metaphors in Ephesians 2:11-22 structure the narrative, and this structure provides coherence to what would otherwise be isolated metaphors. I also subscribe to the notion that metaphors do not just mean something, but they also do something: they impact the readers perceptually and affectively.

In this thesis, I approach Ephesians 2:11-22 as a drama. I provide two kinds of contributions: a methodological one (the stage directions), and an interpretive one (the drama). I give the readers of this project some stage directions—the frameworks of the ideas that allow us to see the text as a drama as well as some methodological areas where cognitive linguistics refines and intersects with existing notions in biblical studies.

The drama begins with movement from outside to inside, from past to present, from one kind of conceptual and relational container to another. Christ is a vehicle of that motion, and also an agent, breaking down walls and abolishing enmity, and ultimately is the builder of the structure. The narrative ends with movement into the temple, with Christ as both builder and cornerstone.

The writer uses spatial locations in each of the Acts to communicate social relationships; these spatial locations are understood as Containers. In Act I, ISRAEL IS A CONTAINER highlights the Gentile converts’ previous exclusion and CHRIST IS A CONTAINER highlights their present inclusion. In Act II, BELIEVERS ARE A NEW HUMANITY highlights the reconciled humanity as a social group. In Act III, GOD’ S SPIRITUAL TERRITORY IS A NATION highlights the access, inclusion, and unity now enjoyed by the new humanity. The use of the Container as a spatial metaphor allows the author to develop his argument in terms of change and inclusion: CHANGE OF STATE IS A CHANGE OF LOCATION and INCLUSION IS BEING BROUGHT INTO THE CONTAINER.

This analysis contributes to the scholarship of Ephesians by showing how the drama of the unfolding narrative embedded in Ephesians 2 uses metaphor to move Gentile believers through various stages on a journey toward maximal relational proximity and higher status.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Sustainable Development Goals:
Research Areas: A. > School of Law
B. > Theses
C. Collaborative Partners > London School of Theology
Item ID: 35540
Depositing User: Lisa Blanshard
Date Deposited: 08 Aug 2022 13:25
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2022 18:32

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