In a 2004 article in JETS, Henri Blocher examines how recent philosophers have attempted to use metaphor to break through the “flatism” of Positivism. He agrees that Positivism must be opposed, but argues that it is best opposed on the grounds of a biblical ontology: “Under the parameters of orthodoxy, this flat-“ism” is denounced and destroyed by the Creator’s transcendence, and by the freedom of his rule. Before the biblical God—‘in him’ —creatures are one and many, and becoming; irreducibly diverse, they work together in symphony; there is a life of the cosmos, all created beings, with their assigned powers, conspiring towards a glorious fulfillment, towards the Kingdom. This, it is suggested, provides the ontological basis for metaphorical speech-acts, together with the reflection of divine creativity in the inventive activity of our logos.”

In this framework, we can affirms the creative power of metaphor without collapsing into a linguistic idealism: “Our logos was indeed created in the image, or as the image, of the divine Logos. In human thought and speech the creativity of the divine Logos reflects itself. Devising metaphors is more than mere passive recording or imaging. It may imply (as thought and speech generally) daring initiatives, subtle strategies, an opportunity for genius, a royal domination over the works of God’s hands. Quoad nos , for our perception of the world, for our common, social, perception of the world and consequent forms of behavior, metaphors introduce new features. They sometimes revolutionize things human: they prevent or precipitate wars, they destroy or defend empires. Who can measure the efficacy of that one metaphor: the ‘iron curtain’?”

Articles by Peter J. Leithart

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