Stanley Porter on Metaphor in the New Testament

On June 21, 2018, Dr. Stanley Porter delivered a lecture at the University of Otago on “Metaphor in the New Testament: Expressing the Inexpressible through Language.”

Much New Testament studies has been shackled by a limiting and constraining literalism—or at least what purports to be literalism. This has resulted in an emphasis upon the “thingness” of the ancient world and its texts, rather than on the “howness,” that is, how language is used to reflect upon and even create the world in which the ancients existed. The result of such a narrow view of human experience and use of language is the failure to appreciate the nature and complexity of language itself, in particular metaphor. Fundamental to interpretation is recognition of the role that language plays in human experience, and from that grow all of the other helpful means by which we analyze texts. In this paper, I wish to confine myself to the use of metaphor in the New Testament, and its relationship to Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL). I will examine theories of metaphor briefly to see what they help us to understand about language. Then I will treat metaphor from a SFL standpoint as it functions within the New Testament. In this section, I think that I can make some new observations regarding metaphor and how it functions in the New Testament.


Stanley Porter: Paul met Jesus before he was crucified


Professor Stanley Porter (McMaster Divinity College) revisits the theory that Paul had met and seen Jesus while the latter was still alive. He presents the theory in four lectures, delivered in the 2014 H. Orton Wiley Lecture Series (Point Loma Nazarene University): “DID PAUL MEET JESUS BEFORE THE DAMASCUS ROAD? The Evidence and the Implications”.

The lectures are available on iTunes, in audio format:

Lecture 1 “What Scholars Have Said in the Past” – Listen on iTunes Wednesday,
February 19, 2014
1:30 – 2:20 pm
Lecture 2 “What Scholars Now Say” – Listen on iTunes Thursday,
February 20, 2014
9:30 – 10:20 am
Lecture 3 “What the Bible Does and Does Not Say” – Listen on iTunes Thursday,
February 20, 2014
1:30 – 2:20 pm
Lecture 4 “The Implications of Paul Having Met Jesus” – Listen on iTunes Friday,
February 21, 2014
11:00 – 11:50 am

Update: Stanley Porter has written a book on which the lectures are based: When Paul Met Jesus: How an Idea Got Lost in History (Cambridge University Press, November 2015)

The Formation of the Canon: Hayward Lectures 2006

The 2006 Hayward Lectures, held at Acadia Divinity College, are available on YouTube. Lectures by Emanuel Tov, James Charlesworth, Stephen Dempster, Craig Evans, Lee McDonald, Stanley Porter, and Jonathan Wilson address various aspects of the formation of the biblical canon(s). Most of the Hayward lectures were later included in Craig A. Evans and Emanuel Tov, eds, Exploring the Origins of the Bible: Canon Formation in Historical, Literary, and Theological Perspective (Baker Academic, 2008).

Emanuel Tov, “The Septuagint as a Source for the Literary Analysis of Hebrew Scripture”

James Charlesworth, “Writings Ostensibly Outside the Canon”

Stephen G. Dempster, “Torah, Torah, Torah: The Emergence of the Tripartite Canon”

Craig A. Evans, “The Apocryphal Jesus: Assessing the Possibilities and Problems”

Lee Martin McDonald, “Wherein Lies Authority? A Discussion of Books, Texts, and Translations”

Stanley Porter, “Paul and the Process of Canonization”

Jonathan R. Wilson, “Canon and Authority: What is at Stake?”