When Children Became People: The Birth of Childhood in Early Christianity

When Children Became People: The Birth of Childhood in Early Christianity

When Children Became People: The Birth of Childhood in Early Christianity

When Children Became People: The Birth of Childhood in Early Christianity

Synopsis

Bakke paints a fascinating picture of children's first real emergence as people against a backdrop of the ancient world. Using theological and social history research, Bakke compares Greco-Roman and Christian attitudes toward abortion and child prostitution, pedagogy and moral upbringing, and the involvement of children in liturgy and church life. He also assesses Christian attitudes toward children in the church's developing doctrinal commitments. Today, growing numbers of children are impoverished, exploited, abandoned, orphaned, or killed. Bakke's insightful work begins to untangle the roots of their complex plight.

Excerpt

How did Christians in the ancient world deal with children? What was it like to grow up in a Christian household? What did Christians in antiquity think about children? To what extent did children participate in the life of the church? Did they have any specific roles? What influence did Christianity have on how adults thought about children and how children were treated? By asking such questions, I intend to draw as clearly as possible a picture both of the theology of children and of the social history of children during that formative period in Christian history.

The main focus of the present volume is children in early Christianity (c. 100–450 CE.). By children I mean real children, not children used as a metaphor for adults as in the common designation of adult Christians as children of God. By children I mean human beings who not yet had become grown-ups. It was customary in the classical period to follow Hippocrates, the father of medical science, in his division of the human lifespan into eight chronologically successive phases. The first three of these were (1) paidion, the small child (until the age of seven); (2) pais, the child (from seven to fourteen); and (3) tneirakion, the young person (from fourteen to twenty). In keeping with this way of understanding the life cycle, “child/children” in the present book refers to human beings from birth to the age of about twenty.

GROWING ATTENTION TO CHILDREN IN SOCIETY AND RESEARCH

Never before in the history of the Western countries, and probably also in other parts of the world, have the situation of children and issues related to childhood been so much in the focus of public life as they are now. It should come as no surprise then that I, as a Norwegian living at . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.