The Child in the Bible

The Child in the Bible

The Child in the Bible

The Child in the Bible

Synopsis

In this volume nineteen biblical scholars collaborate to provide an informed and focused treatment of biblical perspectives on children and childhood. Looking at the Bible through the "lens" of the child exposes new aspects of biblical texts and themes. Some of the authors focus on selected biblical texts -- Genesis, Proverbs, Mark, and more -- while others examine such biblical themes as training and disciplining, children and the image of God, the metaphor of Israel as a child, and so on. In discussing a vast array of themes and questions, the chapters also invite readers to reconsider the roles that children can or should play in religious communities today.

Excerpt

The Bible is teeming with direct references to children, childhood, and adultchild relationships. Biblical passages refer to the conception, birth, and naming of children. They give accounts of childhoods, sibling relationships, and children’s birth order. the Bible also portrays diverse, complex, and emotionfilled child-adult relationships. Some adults enjoy children, carry them on their shoulders, and hold them in their bosoms. Others reject children, abandon them, and plot their destruction. Various children in the Bible are blessed, touched, or healed. Others are cursed, victims of injustice, or murdered. Some are abandoned; others are adopted. They are treated by others as gifts and treasures as well as spoils and booties of war. Biblical texts also refer to adult obligations to children. Adults are commanded to teach, educate, and discipline children and to care for poor children and orphans. Other biblical texts outline children’s own duties and responsibilities to parents, God, and the community. the actions and words of children themselves are varied and often central to biblical accounts of events or the stories of families, tribes, and nations. Children are depicted as singing, rejoicing, and praising God as well as rebelling, committing wrongs, and turning from God. They learn from adults yet also are recognized as prophets and models for adults.

Biblical texts also often refer indirectly or metaphorically to children and childhood. Individuals and nations are referred to as children of God and sons and daughters of God, with God as their father or, sometimes, mother. “Childlike” is used to refer to both immature as well as admirable behavior. a range of child-related terms and metaphors is used to articulate central themes or events. For example, Jesus bids farewell to his disciples by saying, “I will not leave you orphaned” (John 14:18). in his appeals to the Galatians, Paul speaks of them as his “little children,” for whom he is “again in the pain of . . .

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