NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED545514
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 218
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2675-7031-4
The Writing Life: Narrative, Metaphor, and Emotion in the Spiritual Autobiographies of Teresa of Avila and Sarah Edwards
Friend, Elizabeth Ford
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Graduate Theological Union
In this dissertation, I analyze the spiritual autobiographies of Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) and Sarah Edwards (1710-1758) through the methodological lenses of autobiography studies and cognitive linguistics in order to identify key narratives and metaphors for the spiritual life and explore the significance of the interpretation process for lived spirituality. I argue that writing supports the process of interpretation, which, in turn, serves the process of transformation. I locate the two women's narratives within the cultural and historical contexts that gave rise to them--in Teresa's case, the formidable influence of the Spanish Inquisition, and in Sarah Edwards's case, the spiritual revivals that swept through Puritan New England during the second Great Awakening. Despite differences of time, place, and religious tradition, the character of the two women's experiences of God is strikingly similar. I attend to the deep narratives and conceptual metaphors through which they reflect on their experiences of grace, as well as the role of emotion, memory, and imagination in the interpretation process. I focus on the underlying narrative structures that find particular expression in their stories and the metaphors arising from ordinary life that are integral to their reflections, including the soul as a garden, life as a journey, well-being as wealth, good as up, knowing as seeing, among others. Through the processes of neural binding, primary and complex metaphors co-occur with metaphors for infinity and for God so that Teresa and Sarah Edwards experience the infinite and ineffable God within the context of everyday life. Because the imagination uses embodied metaphors grounded in the same neural structures used by action and perception, visualizing in our minds the experiences they relate evokes emotional responses in the reader so that the reader's own experiences are awakened and deepened. Finally, I return to the question of interpretation, first reviewing the theoretical foundations of philosophers Paul Ricoeur and Hans-Georg Gadamer, and then identifying contributions from cognitive science to an understanding of the interpretive process itself In the claims of cognitive scientists, I find a compelling confirmation of the incarnational dimension of spirituality. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A