Jewish and Christian Views of Childhood

Marcia J. Bunge

in Childhood Studies

ISBN: 9780199791231
Published online March 2012 | | DOI:
Jewish and Christian Views of Childhood

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Scholars from a wide range of disciplines are now focusing more attention on children and contributing to the new and burgeoning field of childhood studies. In line with these trends, scholars in diverse areas of religious studies, theology, and ethics are also beginning to focus attention directly on children and childhood. This article is devoted to scholarship regarding children and childhood in Judaism and Christianity and highlights examples of literature from several primary areas of research in religious studies: history, biblical studies, ethics, theology, and spirituality. Literature on children and childhood is growing in all of these areas and is opening up new lines of intellectual inquiry, challenging preconceptions about children, and even reshaping research methodologies. Religious studies of children and childhood concern not only adult perceptions of or behavior toward children and children’s vulnerabilities but also children’s perceptions and experiences and their own capacities. The attention to children’s voices, capacities, agency, and participation has, in turn, prompted scholars to rethink and reshape their own research questions and methods and disciplinary theories and practices, taking into account the ideas and actions of children themselves and the complexities of child–adult relationships. Although there are numerous and outstanding sources regarding Jewish and Christian views of children related to family life and faith formation, this short bibliography focuses on texts that directly and primarily explore the theme of children and childhood in Judaism and Christianity. Since so much is written on ethical perspectives, this article divides the literature on ethics into sections on selected topics that are significant in both traditions and that help illustrate Jewish and Christian thinking about responsibilities of both children and adults.

Article.  6979 words. 

Subjects: Development Studies

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