Ecclesial metaphor in the epistle to the Ephesians from the perspective of a modern theory of metaphor
This thesis approaches ecclesial metaphor in Ephesians from the vantage point of modern theories of metaphor from which concepts are borrowed and shaped into methods for evaluating ancient metaphor. These methods treat "mechanics, " interaction of components, age and contextual function and are employed in studying the principal ecclesial metaphors of Ephesians--the church as 1) body (1: 22-23; 2: 16; 4: 1-16; 5: 23); 2) building/temple (2: 19-22); 3) bride (5: 21- 33). The body metaphor is developed in Eph. 4: 11-16 with three submetaphors (Christ as "head"; "ministers" as "ligaments"; congregants as "parts"). Additional uses guard against pressing too far the identification of Christ as head of the body. These findings are confirmed by comparison with body metaphors in Greek and Latin authors and in the earlier Pauline Epistles. The development of the Pauline image is judged within a matrix of themes, especially "unity" and "ministry. " The body metaphor of Eph. 4: 11-16 functions to encourage a heightened appreciation for "ministers" provided by the ascended Christ. In Eph. 2: 19-22 the church is identified as a building/temple complete with building materials, foundation and cornerstone. The qualities of this metaphor are assessed in view of similar metaphors in the NT (1 Cor. 3: 9b-17; 6: 19; 2 Cor. 6: 14- 7: 1; 1 Pet. 2: 4-8) and the Qumran Library. The building/temple metaphor functions in an inclusive and idealistic way that reflects on Jewish-gentile conflict in the hope of enhancing cohesion among the addressees. The metaphor of the church as bride occurs as part of a Haustafel and is evaluated with the aid of other espousal metaphors (Ezek. 16: 1-14; 2 Cor. 11: 2-5; Rev. 19-22). The bridal metaphor expresses the muted eschatological perspective of the letter and brings the covenant-loyalty of the divine bridegroom to bear upon the marital fidelity of Christian husbands. Reading the ecclesial metaphors from the perspective of a modern theory of metaphor accents their interrelationships. All apply language that could be used elsewhere in a negative context in an idealistic manner to describe the Christian church at large.