Metaphorical Creativity in the Conceptualization of the Heart in Al-Ghazali’s The Revival of the Religious Sciences (Iḥyāʾ ʿulūm ad-dīn)

Afef Badri


Zoltán Kövecses introduced the notion of “context-induced creativity” that he argues that it “has not so far been systematically explored in the cognitive linguistic literature on metaphor”. Research on conceptual metaphor of the heart has lacked focus on exploring creativity in the metaphorical expressions utilized to conceptualize the heart. Also there is very limited research on the heart metaphor in religious and particularly Sufi discourse. To my knowledge only Nørager (2007) and Maalej (2008) have explored this area. The present paper applies a conceptual metaphor paradigm with special reference to Kövecses’ (2015) model of metaphorical creativity to study creativity in the conceptualization of the heart in Al-Ghazali’s The Revival of the Religious Sciences. Corpus analysis has indicated that the novelty and creativity of heart metaphors are induced by a range of contextual variables: (1) the immediate physical setting, (2) knowledge about the major participants in the discourse, (3) the immediate cultural context, (4) the immediate social setting, and (5) the immediate linguistic context and that creativity is dependent on available conventional conceptual resources.


conceptual metaphor, Sufi discourse, context, metaphorical creativity.

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