Huber, Like a Bride Adorned

Huber, Lynn R. 2007. Like a Bride Adorned: Reading Metaphor in John’s Apocalypse. Emory Studies in Early Christianity. New York: T&T Clark International. xi + 221 pp.

The bride metaphor is a powerful one. It has been investigated by McIlraith and Jan Fekkes (and others). Studies like this one are welcome additions to this topic.

Synopsis from the publisher
“The phrase ‘like a bride adorned’ is one of the ways Revelation describes the new Jerusalem which descends from heaven. This phrase can also be read as describing one of the ways interpreters historically have understood the relationship between Revelation and its metaphorical language. In contrast to views that suggest Revelation’s metaphorical language is simple adornment, Huber argues that Revelation’s persuasive power resides within the text’s metaphorical nature and she articulates a method for exploring how Revelation employs metaphor to shape an audience’s thought.

“In order to gain a sense of how metaphorical language works in Revelation’s highly metaphorical text, Like a Bride Adorned: Reading Metaphor in John’s Apocalypse engages one set of conceptual metaphors in relation to Revelation’s literary and social-historical milieu. Specifically, Huber explores the conceptual metaphors undergirding Revelation’s nuptial or bridal imagery. Positioned at the culmination of the text’s, nuptial imagery serves as one the text’s final and arguably one of its most important characterizations of the Christian community

“Examining the function of Revelation’s nuptial imagery involves investigating how the text redeploys conventional metaphorical constructions used in the writings of the Hebrew prophets and how its imagery engages Greco-Roman depictions of women, weddings, and brides. Discourse about marriage and family was such an important part of Revelation’s historical context, especially as it was shaped by the Roman Empire, that any discussion of the text’s nuptial imagery must examine how it reflects and responds to this discourse. By addressing these questions, we see that Revelation’s nuptial imagery serves to further the text’s goal of shaping Christian identity in opposition to the social demands of the Roman Empire. Moreover, exploration of the conceptual metaphors undergirding Revelation’s ‘bride adorned’ reveals how John seeks to shape Christian identity as a transitional identity.

“Through metaphor, Revelation encourages its audience to envision the Christian community as a bride who constructs ‘her’ own identity as she transitions into a new role in relation to God and the Lamb. Through the process of exploring Revelation’s nuptial imagery with insights gained from conceptual metaphor theory, we uncover the ways that John employs metaphorical language to persuade his audience’s thought about themselves and about others. Consequently, this work contributes both to our understanding of the text’s nuptial imagery and to our knowledge of how Revelation employs metaphor as tool for persuasion.”

Table of Content:

  1. Reading through the “Veil of Obscurity:” Interpreting Revelation’s Imagistic Language
  2. KNOWING IS SEEING: Theories of Metaphor Ancient, Medieval, and Modern
  3. Envisioning the City as a Woman: A Metaphorical Framework in the Jewish Literary Traditions
  4. Unveiling the Bride: Nuptial Traditions and Roman Social Discourse
  5. “Alleluia . . . the wedding of the Lamb has come:” Reading Revelation’s Nuptial Imagery
  6. “Like a Bride Adorned:” Reading Metaphor in Revelation
  • Appendix Babylon–A City without a Bride: Revelation 18:23
  • Bibliography

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