The Power to Pray

Models for Prayer in Children’s Books by Willem G. van de Hulst

in Religion and Theology
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Drawing on Marcel Mauss, this article contends that historians and sociologists should not focus on what prayer brings about, but on how it is brought about or “produced.” Specifically, it aims at bringing to light normative conceptions of prayer, through content analysis of Protestant children’s books, written by the Netherlands’ most important twentieth-century author of juvenile literature, W.G. van de Hulst. A recurrent theme in his earlier works is a “breach” in the prayer life of the (male) protagonists – their “conversion” from conventional, “ritual” prayer to individualised, improvised, “sincere” prayer. In his later works, by contrast, Van de Hulst suggested that “real prayer” can be learned gradually, in an intimate relationship between children – notably girls – and their mothers. The gender- and age-specific nature of these models for prayer is shown by mapping out differences between prayer scenes, e.g. with respect to social setting, body postures, and forms of address.

The Power to Pray

Models for Prayer in Children’s Books by Willem G. van de Hulst

in Religion and Theology

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References

12

Lea DasbergHet kinderboek als opvoeder: Twee eeuwen pedagogische normen en waarden in het historische kinderboek in Nederland (Assen: Van Gorcum1981); Jacques Dane De vrucht van bijbelsche opvoeding: Populaire leescultuur in protestants-christelijke gezinnen ca. 1880–1940 (Hilversum: Verloren 1996); Jacques Dane “Het eeuwige leven van W.G. van de Hulst? Over de veldtheorie van Pierre Bourdieu en de schrijverscarrière van W.G. van de Hulst” in De smalle marge van de multiculturele samenleving: De multiculturele leescultuur in onderwijs en bibliotheek boekproductie en beleid eds. Karen Ghonem-Woet and Piet Mooren (The Hague: NBD Biblion 2001); G.J. Schutte ed. De geschiedenis aan het volk verteld: Populaire protestants-christelijke geschiedschrijving in de negentiende en twintigste eeuw (Hilversum: Verloren 2008).

13

Van der KaadenZoeken41 55.

14

Peter van RoodenReligieuze regimes: Over godsdienst en maatschappij in Nederland 1570–1990 (Amsterdam: Bert Bakker1996). See also Anne de Vries Wat heten goede kinderboeken? Opvattingen over kinderliteratuur in Nederland sinds 1880 (Amsterdam: Querido 1989).

24

Jacques Dane et al.“For Religion, Education and Literature: A Comparative Study of Changes in the Strategy and Profile of Traditionally Religious Publishing Houses in Belgium and the Netherlands in the Twentieth Century,” in Paedagogica Historica: International Journal of the History of Education 42:707–726.

129

Callum G. BrownThe Death of Christian Britain: Understanding Secularization: 1800–2000 (London: Routledge2006) 77. See also: Nancy Chodorow The reproduction of mothering: Psychoanalysis and the sociology of gender (Berkeley: University of California Press 1978).

130

Jan WaterinkAan Moeder’s hand tot Jezus: De godsdienstige opvoeding van den kleuter (Wageningen: Bosch & Keuning1936); translated as Leading Little Ones to Jesus: A Book for Mothers (Grand Rapids: Zondervan 1962).

131

WaterinkLeading37–40. After the chapters on “Mother’s Prayer” and “Mothers Faith” (chs. 7 and 8) comes one titled “Mother’s Hand Relaxes a Bit.”

132

See David Bos“De verbeelding van de dominee: Stereotypering van predikanten en hun huisgenoten in vroeg twintigste-eeuwse, protestants-christelijke kinderboeken,” in Bouwsel voor ’t leven: De traditie van protestantse kinderliteratuured. Jacques Dane and George Harinck (Zoetermeer: Meinema2003) 76–106.

138

Cf. Matthew Wood“The Sociology of Spirituality: Reflections on a Problematic Endeavour,” in The New Blackwell Companion to the Sociology of Religioned. Bryan S. Turner (Malden: Wiley-Blackwell2010) 267–285.

139

Hugh McLeodThe Religious Crisis of the 1960s (Oxford: Oxford University Press2007); see also Peter van Rooden “Oral history en het vreemde sterven van het Nederlands christendom” in Bijdragen en Mededelingen betreffende de Geschiedenis der Nederlanden 119 no. 4 (2004) 524–551.

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