Give Me Children or I Shall Die: Children and Communal Survival in Biblical Literature
Availability: In stock.
Emerging Scholars category: Bible
Item No: ED023745
Item No: ED024165
Release Date: Friday, November 1, 2013
In the subsistence agricultural social context of the Hebrew Bible, children were necessary for communal survival. In such an economy, children’s labor contributes to the family’s livelihood from a young age, rather than simply preparing the child for future adult work. Ethnographic research shows that this interdependent family life contrasts significantly with that of privileged modern Westerners, for whom children are dependents. This text seeks to look beyond the dominant cultural constructions of childhood in the modern West and the moral rhetoric that accompanies them so as to uncover what biblical texts intend to communicate when they utilize children as literary tropes in their own social, cultural, and historical context.
“A valuable addition to the growing body of research linking biblical scholarship with the new sociology of childhood. Koepf-Taylor aptly demonstrates that the texts of the Hebrew Bible reflect ancient Israel’s concerns with the economic value of its children as the key to community survival. Of particular interest is the author's analysis of the trope of (in)fertility in the biblical texts as a reflection of the economic worth of children and childhood in the Israelite family of the past. She successfully separates the study of the economic worth of children in the biblical past from the emotional value placed on children today.”
“This lively and compelling book sets out a transformative program of child-centered biblical scholarship, equal in revolutionary scope to feminist criticism, at the same time boldly challenging modern assumptions about age, innocence, value, and community.”
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