Metaphor “CHRIST IS THE SHEPHERD” in Versions of John’s Gospel

Tyumen State University Herald. Humanities Research. Humanitates


2017, Vol. 3. №3

Metaphor “CHRIST IS THE SHEPHERD” in Versions of John’s Gospel

For citation: Shitikov P. M. 2017. “Metaphor ‘CHRIST IS THE SHEPHERD’ in Versions of John’s Gospel”. Tyumen State University Herald. Humanities Research. Humanitates, vol. 3, no 3, pp. 145-155. DOI: 10.21684/2411-197X-2017-3-3-145-155

About the author:

Pyotr M. Shitikov, Cand. Sci. (Philol.), Cand. Div., Associate Professor, Department of Biblical Studies, Tobolsk Theological Seminary;


The author of the paper shows some results of the comparative analysis of conceptual metaphor “CHRIST IS THE SHEPHERD” in original text of John Gospel in Greek and its versions in Russian and English. The aim of paper is to compare different versions of the Gospel and the concept SHEPHERD in it. Theoretic foundation of the issue is cognitive metaphor theory. According to the theory the process of translation does not transfer lexical units and meanings from one language to another, but it transfers concepts from one culture to another. Methodological foundation of the issue is a complex algorithm, which concludes different elements of contemporary methods of metaphor. This algorithm consists of several related steps. 1. Corpus Analysis of original (Greek) text to find key words, which are typical for the author of Gospel. 2. Metaphor identification procedure (MIP) by Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam for identification of metaphor related words in text. 3. Analyses of conceptual basis of metaphorical expression by G. Steen’s method. 4. Comparative analysis of versions of John Gospel for finding models of metaphor translation.

As a result we realized complex analysis of conceptual metaphor CHRIST IS THE SHEPHERD. At the first step, we found more typical lexical units for John Gospel. One of them is the word ποιμήν (shepherd). The second step is the MIP-analysis. We mark the word ποιμήν as metaphorical. At the third step, we find the basis of metaphorical expression with word ποιμήν. It is the concept SHEPHERD in its tie with the concept CHRIST, that build conceptual metaphor. This metaphor has an influence on the author’s word usage. Besides, we learnt, that secondary metaphors, that are bound with it, are realized in different variants. The last step of the algorithm is the comparison of versions of John Gospel in Russian and English. Most of versions realize conceptual metaphor CHRIST IS THE SHEPHERD in the correct form. Secondary metaphors are usually translated correctly, but there are some differences in versions. One of the reason of concurrence in metaphor translation is the importance of the Christian concept SHEPHERD for European culture. As the conclusion, we can state that the algorithm of complex metaphor analysis is very effective. Combination of elements of different methods allows to avoid subjectivity in analysis. We can verify a result of analysis on each step. It is the main advantage of the method.


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