Author ORCID Identifier

Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Linguistic Theory and Typology (MALTT)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. Rusty Barrett


Contemporary research in the study of language and cognition frequently characterizes religious metaphors as either monoliths of experience or stable synchronic structures, if not both. In addition, by virtue of how the foundational theory of this paper, Conceptual Metaphor Theory, has been situated in the literature, pre-modern theist writing on figurative language has been largely ignored. This has resulted in a general application of Conceptual Metaphor Theory to religious language which characterizes religious experience as phenomenologically invalid with the contingent effect of contradicting the basic experiential nature of metaphor. Here, I account for these principal theoretical discrepancies through an exploration of the qualities and varieties of religious metaphor, culminating in a proposed amendment to Conceptual Metaphor Theory. In the latter portion of my thesis, I apply the amended theory to the journal of the American missionary John Allen Chau to demonstrate its theoretical efficacy in relation to an analysis of sovereignty metaphors within Chau’s evangelical ideology.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Funding Information

Graduate Research Fellowship, University of Kentucky Center for Equality and Social Justice (August 2019 - July 2020)