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The literal and metaphorical inscription of gesture in religious discourse

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This paper explores the ways in which gestures, understood in their widest sense as “technical gestures,” are used in metaphorical language to highlight aspects of cultural transmissions and religious actions. By selecting a few examples from different textual traditions, an attempt is made to show that the metaphorical inscription of gesture in religious discourse reflects the very notion of religion. Contrary to what may be expected, however, this notion is less concerned with aspects of belief than with recollection and scrupulosity. The metaphors at stake also seem to thematize some of the problems and paradoxes associated with a tradition that has to keep something intact by giving it away.

Keywords: cultural transmission; metaphor; religious discourse; technical gestures

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2006


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