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The Role of Conceptual Integration in Christian Language on the Basis of the Use of THE LOST SHEEP IS HUMANITY Blend in Patristic Writings

Aleksander Gomola
Published Online: 2018-05-31 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opth-2018-0012


The article investigates the role of conceptual integration in generating new theological meanings in early Christian texts. Its basic assumption is that metaphoricity and novelty of language of Christian doctrine and teaching in early Christian period should be regarded as a well attested case of linguistic creativity whose mechanisms are explained by Conceptual Blending Theory as proposed by Fauconnier and Turner. After a brief presentation of selected theological studies utilizing cognitive linguistic perspective and a brief discussion of basic notions of Conceptual Blending Theory, the article examines variants of the THE LOST SHEEP IS HUMANITY blend in selected patristic texts by Origen, Cyril of Alexandria, Pseudo-Macarius, Augustine and Gregory of Nyssa. The analysis of these variants shows that conceptual integration allowed these authors to create and develop a wide range of theological ideas representing many important aspects of Christian doctrine from soteriology, through ecclesiology to Christology. This in turn proves that cognitive linguistics may provide theologians with instruments of linguistic analysis that shed new light on many aspects of theological language and reasoning.

Keywords : Conceptual Blending Theory; blending; conceptual blends; patristics; patristic writings; Origen; Cyril of Alexandria; Pseudo-Macarius; Augustine; Gregory of Nyssa; the parable of the lost sheep; Christology; Donatist controversy


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About the article

Received: 2017-09-29

Accepted: 2018-01-16

Published Online: 2018-05-31

Citation Information: Open Theology, Volume 4, Issue 1, Pages 170–185, ISSN (Online) 2300-6579, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opth-2018-0012.

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© 2018 Aleksander Gomola, published by De Gruyter. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License. BY-NC-ND 4.0

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