The Introduction traces the origin of child-centered research in Judaic and biblical studies, especially its rapid growth in the past twenty years, with personal anecdotes which suggest its organic development arising from unanswered scholarly questions. In addition, the definition and structure of Childist Criticism in Jewish and biblical studies is explored, both on its own and in how it relates to other fields of higher criticism, such as feminist studies, masculinity studies, narrative criticism, deconstructive criticism, and archaeology.
The essays which are outlined in the Introduction were first presented at “Listening To and Learning From Children in the Biblical World,” a conference held on 17–18 February 2018 at Hebrew Union College, Los Angeles. At its core, child-centered research has always been interdisciplinary, and each of the following essays demonstrates this purposefully by not only naming the method that is being used to explore the biblical text, but also applying that method in a case study. As a whole, the papers give an overview of where the field came from and where it is going. Apart from shared methods and texts, a unifying principle for scholarship in this field has been, from the start, to listen to and learn from the children. This volume helps us to understand the best ways to hear children and to continue listening to their voices both in the past and today.
When it comes to the study of children in the Bible and biblical world, narrative criticism is well suited to pair with childist interpretation, since both focus in part upon characters in a narrative and how those characters interact with each another. This essay begins by defining narrative criticism broadly and then reviews the work of two key scholars: Robert Alter and David Rhoads. The chapter then summarizes Rhoads’s interpretation of the Syrophoenician woman in Mark 7:24–30 through the lens of narrative criticism. Building upon Rhoads’s work, the essay uses narrative criticism to highlight the young daughter in this narrative, who often receives little attention from commentators. In the process, it becomes evident that what makes a character important is not necessarily speech or action, but how the narrator focuses upon the character and the character’s impact on the other characters in the story.
Children, as we might define them in the contemporary world, seldom play major roles in biblical narrative. And yet, all biblical characters are someone’s children, and frequent stories of “begettings” and “birthings” depict the generational renewal so important for the community’s understanding of its future—both the community constructed within the story world and the community that engenders that world to begin with. Using the theoretical lens of socio-narratology, this article explores how this narrativized “re-generation” in the book of Genesis creates social space for ancient Israelite communities to reaffirm, rethink, reimagine, and revamp their collective identities as they prepare for future survival.
The article introduces intersectionality and disability studies as tools for the study of children in the Bible, and applies these tools to a reading of the Pastoral Epistles. The framework of intersectionality shows that the place(s) of children in a society must be seen in relation to other identity categories, such as race, class, gender, etc. Hierarchical relations should be studied in their complexity and also their particularity. The concept of kyriarchy is useful for studying the particularities of intersectional identity in the New Testament, as is the method of “asking the other question.” Concerning disability studies, three insights are introduced that overlap with theoretical reflections from childhood studies. The first concerns questions of agency and voice, the second points to the fluctuality of identity categories, and the third is about metaphorical uses of identity categories.
The chapter then applies these tools to the Pastorals. In these letters, children are never addressed directly. Nevertheless, they are the object of instructions, and the recipients are framed as metaphorical children. The chapter argues that this approach on the one hand reveals structures of power and silences in the text, and on the other supports the childist quest for children’s active role through a creative imagination of the lived experiences and blurred boundaries of everyday life.
This chapter explores the relationship between two emerging fields in biblical scholarship: masculinity studies and childhood studies. More specifically, it endeavors to explain why scholars of masculinity have thus far overlooked the potential of childhood studies as an informative conversation partner for their work. It argues that this oversight largely results from the genealogy of masculinity studies as the scion of feminist gender criticism, a connection that has inspired a great deal of reflection on the ways masculinity is constructed in opposition to femininity. As an unfortunate result, scholars have overlooked frequent examples where manhood is contrasted with boyhood, as with certain shaming acts referenced in the Hebrew Bible, and in the story of Jether—Gideon’s eldest son—in Judges 8. By acknowledging that, in the biblical world, masculinity is defined as often by one’s maturation out of boyhood as it is in distinction from femininity, the present lack of connection between masculinity and childhood studies can be overcome. The chapter concludes by discussing the potential for mutual edification between masculinity and childhood studies.
Righteous Gentiles: Religion, Identity, and Myth in John Hagee’s Christians United for Israel, Sean Durbin offers a critical analysis of America’s largest Pro-Israel organization, Christians United for Israel, along with its critics and collaborators. Although many observers focus Christian Zionism’s influence on American foreign policy, or whether or not Christian Zionism is ‘truly’ religious,
Righteous Gentiles takes a different approach.
Through his creative and critical analysis of Christian Zionists’ rhetoric and mythmaking strategies, Durbin demonstrates how they represent their identities and political activities as authentically religious. At the same time, Durbin examines the role that Jews and the state of Israel have as vehicles or empty signifiers through which Christian Zionist truth claims are represented as manifestly real.
Schöningh, Fink and mentis Religious Studies, Theology and Philosophy E-Books Online, is the electronic version of the book publication program of Verlag Ferdinand Schöningh, Wilhelm Fink Verlag and mentis Verlag in the field of Religious Studies, Theology and Philosophy.
Coverage: Religious Studies, Theology, Philosophy, Christianity, History of Religion, Religion & Society, Missionary Studies
Ephraem der Syrer und Basilios der Große, Justinian und Edessa untersucht Nestor Kavvadas die syrische Vita des Heiligen Ephraem, die in Edessa zum Höhepunkt des Konflikts zwischen der syrischen miaphysitischen Bewegung und der pro-chalkedonischen Kirchenpolitik Justinians komponiert wurde, und vergleicht sie mit einigen früheren griechisch-kappadokischen Hagiographien um Ephraem und Basilios von Caesarea, der in Ephraems Vita gleichsam als dessen Patron erscheint. Der Autor zeigt, dass während diese griechischen Hagiographien dazu bestimmt waren, Ephraem als Vater der chalkedonischen, byzantinischen orthodoxen Kirche zu reklamieren, die edessenische Ephraemvita Teil eines Versuchs der syrischen miaphysitischen Bewegung war, Exklusivrecht auf Ephraem sowie Basilios, und damit auf das Erbe der Kirchenväter, zu beanspruchen. Dann stellt der Autor heraus, wie die Ephraemvita, einmal „entschlüsselt“, ihr historisches Umfeld in ein neues Licht stellen kann.
Ephrem der Syrer und Basilios der Große, Justinian und Edessa, Nestor Kavvadas examines the Syriac “Life” of Saint Ephrem, composed in Edessa at the time when the Syriac Miaphysite movement was opposing Justinian’s pro-Chalcedonian politics, and compares it with several earlier Greek Cappadocian hagiographies about Ephrem and Basil of Caesarea, who is presented almost as Ephrem’s patron in the latter’s “Life”. The author shows that while the Greek hagiographies were meant to (re)claim Ephrem as a Father of the (Chalcedonian) Byzantine Orthodox Church, Ephrem’s Syriac “Life” was part of an attempt by the Syriac Miaphysite movement to claim exclusive rights on both Ephrem and Basil as representatives of the entire legacy of the Church Fathers. Then, the author points out how the “Life”, once de-coded, can in turn shed light on its historical setting.
La restauration de la création se propose d’examiner le statut des animaux dans la pensée chrétienne ancienne et médiévale selon une perspective eschatologique, centrée sur la question du salut des animaux dans le projet divin. L'ouvrage est organisé en trois parties : les sources bibliques, notamment la promesse du renouvellement de la création dans Rm 8, 21 ; les élaborations doctrinales dans la période patristique puis au Moyen Âge ; enfin, des réflexions contemporaines à propos du statut des animaux dans nos sociétés. Souvent absente du débat sociétal à propos des animaux, la perspective historique chrétienne proposée dans ce volume se veut une contribution originale à la réflexion actuelle sur le statut juridique et éthique des animaux.
La restauration de la création aims to examine the status of animals in ancient and medieval Christian thought following an eschatological perspective, that is, focusing on the question of the salvation of animals according to the divine plan. The volume is articulated in three parts: Biblical sources, in particular the promise of the renewal of creation according to Rm 8, 21; Patristic and medieval doctrinal elaborations on the question; finally, contemporary considerations regarding the status of animals in our societies. Often absent from the current social debate on the subject, the historical Christian perspective which this volume proposes is intended as an original contribution to today’s ongoing reflexion on the legal and ethical status of animals.