The focus of this Ph.D. project is the concept of dominion with reference to the dominated and its space. The letter Apostel Paul wrote to the Romans in the first century AD is being approached with a historical critical method, i.e. every word is analysed with the methods of traditional historical philology, focusing on lexical units and looking at syntactical links. Also, the Metaphor Identification Procedure is applied.


The letter to the Romans, dated around 55/56 AD, is particularly in chapters 5–8 permeated with metaphors of dominion, as words such as, rule (βασιλεύω, κυριεύω), enslave (δουλεύω) and liberate (ἐλευθερόω) continually surfaces. George Lakoff & Mark Johnson (1980) have cogently indicated how metaphors are in fact pervasive to language. But what is more, metaphors can also be utilised as a means to persuade.

Within the Topoi research group (C-2) Space and Metaphor, the aim is to construct the coherence of images employed, and to detect similar themes of dominion. The purpose however, is not only to identify these metaphors of dominion and to explain them against their source domains, but also to clarify how Paul in the letter to the Romans use metaphor in an effort to persuade its Auditors. Also, the context of Paul’s argument is of great importance to the Research.

In the plenitude of Pauline studies, there has not yet been an investigation concerning these metaphors of dominion to which Paul refers to in Romans 5–8. Such a study could benefit our theological understanding of the letter to the Romans and further Pauline studies, but it could also contribute to our understanding of how the first Christians related to dominion and space.

First results

Metaphors of dominion have been identified. So it came to light that in Rom 5:1 Paul draws on language from the source domain of war using εἰρήνην ἔχομεν “we have peace” expressing the absence of war in Greek literature. Also καταλλασώ “to reconcile” derives from the having an enemy made into a friend. Within these examples Paul illustrates that people are transformed through Jesus Christ from being God’s enemies into being at peace with Him, even stronger, to be His friends. The change in hegemony results in change in the status of the dominated space and object.

This Ph.D. thesis is being written within the program “Ancient Languages and Texts” (ALT) of the Berlin Graduate School of Ancient Studies (BerGSAS).