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Author: John W. Martens

Abstract

John Chrysostom, circa 349–407 ce, wrote “On Vainglory, or The Right Way to Raise Children,” which purports to be about raising all Christian children. In fact, out of ninety chapters, only one deals with girls. Even more significant are the numerous overlooked children in the text, who are present but whose Christian education is never discussed because they are enslaved. This paper utilizes childist criticism to draw these enslaved children from hiddenness into plain sight. The paper is situated in the context of Jesus’ teaching about children because Chrysostom believes that the best way to raise children is by teaching them stories from the Bible, Hebrew Bible first, then New Testament, but instead of an openness to all children he discusses only freeborn, elite boys. Chrysostom’s treatise exposes the context of how few children in late antiquity could be shaped by biblical interpretation intended for all children. (147 words)

In: Biblical Interpretation

Abstract

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.

In: Children and Methods
In: Children and Methods
In: Children and Methods
In: Children and Methods
Listening To and Learning From Children in the Biblical World
In Children and Methods: Listening To and Learning From Children in the Biblical World, Kristine Henriksen Garroway and John W. Martens bring together an interdisciplinary collection of essays addressing children in the Hebrew Bible, New Testament, and broader ancient world. While the study of children has been on the rise in a number of fields, the methodologies by which we listen to and learn from children in ancient Judaism and Christianity have not been critically examined.

This collection of essays proposes that while the various lenses of established methods of higher criticism offer insight into the lives of children, by filtering these methods through the new field of Childist Criticism, children can be heard and seen in a new light.