The term בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל is asserted to be a "dead metaphor", merely a demonym. The term "dead metaphor" is itself a dead metaphor, whose meaning is complex. However, the linguistic study of dead metaphors offers insights into the philosophy of mind and the psychology of language, which have potential benefits for biblical scholarship.
Distinguishing "live" from "dead" metaphor is relatively easy in living languages, one can potentially interrogate native speakers, but correspondingly problematic in "dead languages". As Cohen notes, our language sample in the Hebrew Bible may be untypical, so frequency is perhaps not a good measure of the mortality of a metaphor.
This paper will explore possible approaches understanding the functioning of such language by assessing the metaphorical mortality of the term בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל. Is this term simply not a metaphor, rather as a "dead letter" was never alive? Is it, like a dead parrot, beyond resuscitation? Or, can we discern instances where, through interaction with the cotext, the metaphorical import of the term may be being revived by the text, much as I might revive even though "dead" tired?
Biblical uses of בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל will be analysed using Guttenplan's four point ordering of the mortality of metaphorical content. Passages where this (possibly) dead metaphor is used in ways which if it were "live" would create a mixed metaphor, and examples where the metaphor is extended, will offer a means of assessing the liveliness of potentially dead metaphors in a "dead language".
This examination of the biblical term is not comprehensive, or quantitative, rather it seeks, through the use of selected examples, to show how Guttenplan's approach can help towards a more nuanced understanding of the usage of potentially dead metaphors in the Biblical Hebrew repertoire.
 Derek Melser, The Act Of Thinking (MIT Press, 2004), 171; Samuel Guttenplan, Objects of Metaphor (Oxford University Press, 2005), 183.
 Mordechai Z. Cohen, Three Approaches to Biblical Metaphor: From Abraham Ibn Ezra and Maimonides (BRILL, 2003), 25 n.81.
 Guttenplan, Objects of Metaphor, 192-3.
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