This paper studies the Old Icelandic use of the Biblical conceptual metaphor of “governing as shepherding”, based on projecting patterns of the practices of shepherding on the notion of governing. It examines the transfer of this conceptual metaphor to Old Icelandic literature through the reception of Christian literature, the frequency and chronology of occurrences of the linguistic realizations of this conceptual metaphor in different textual genres and periods of Old Icelandic literature, and the possible lineages of texts’ transmission that might have enabled the cultural transfer of this conceptual metaphor from Latin to Old Icelandic. On the theoretical basis of Michel Foucault’s governmentality theory, the emergence of the discourse of pastoral power over human life in Old Icelandic literature is correlated with the development of specific biopolitical practices of governance regarding the protection of human life applied by the Catholic Church in medieval Iceland.
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Opphavsrett 2023 Grzegorz Bartusik