• The Semantics of Purity in the Ancient Near East: Lexical Meaning as a Projection of Embodied Experience

    Author(s):
    Yitzhaq Feder (see profile)
    Date:
    2014
    Group(s):
    Ancient Near East, Biblical Studies
    Subject(s):
    Ancient languages, Cognitive science of religion
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    embodied cognition
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/M6WH4W
    Abstract:
    This article analyzes the primary terms for purity in Biblical Hebrew, Ugaritic, Sumerian, Akkadian and Hittite. Building on insights from cognitive linguistics and embodiment theory, this study develops the premise that semantic structure – even of seemingly abstract concepts– is grounded in real-world bodily experience. An examination of purity terms reveals that all of them can be related to a concrete sense pertaining to radiance (brilliance, brightness, shininess). The article traces the semantic development of purity terms in distinct experiential contexts and shows how semantic analysis can elucidate the inner logic of fundamental religious concepts.
    Notes:
    Pre-publication version
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    3 years ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved
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