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"The Leaping Child: Imagining the Unborn in Early Christian Literature"

Playoust, Catherine and Aitken, Ellen Bradshaw (2009) "The Leaping Child: Imagining the Unborn in Early Christian Literature". In: Imagining the Fetus: The Unborn in Myth, Religion, and Culture. AAR Cultural Criticism Series, eds. Sasson, Vanessa R. and Law, Jane Marie. Oxford University Press, New York, pp. 157-183. ISBN 978-0195380057

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Christian literature of the 1st-3rd centuries C.E. contains few references to unborn children; where they are found, however, the unborn become an important rhetorical site in early Christianity for constructing the relationships between competing religious groups. The Gospel of Matthew’s genealogy for the unborn Jesus provides a rich and contended heritage for the child; this heritage also displays his destiny. In the Gospel of Luke, the story of the joyful recognition of the unborn Jesus in Mary’s womb by the unborn John the Baptist establishes the relationship between Jesus and John as adults, a narrative technique that indicates the inclusion of John’s disciples into the Christian movement. The second-century _Protevangelium of James_ also tells of Mary’s perception of "two peoples" in her womb, one lamenting and the other rejoicing; these "peoples" signify divergent social and religious responses to Jesus. The practices of joy and lamentation as projected onto the unborn provide a means for negotiating religious differences and shaping a genealogy of religious origins.

Item Type: Book Chapters
Additional Information: Catherine Playoust was on the faculty of the UFT (JTC) at the time of publication; she moved to CTC in 2015. Ellen Bradshaw Aitken (1961-2014) was on the faculty of McGill University and was not affiliated with the University of Divinity.
Repository Version: Metadata Only
Keywords: Gospel of Luke,Gospel of Matthew,Protevangelium of James,Jewish-Christian relations,infancy narratives,lamentation,joy,Jesus--unborn,John the Baptist,the Virgin Mary,early Christian self-definition,religious competition
Fields of Research: 22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2204 Religion and Religious Studies > 220401 Christian Studies (incl. Biblical Studies and Church History)
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970122 Expanding Knowledge in Philosophy and Religious Studies
Type of Activity: Pure Basic Research
Subjects: B - New Testament
C - Church History
College/Association with University of Divinity: UFT-JTC: United Faculty of Theology - Jesuit Theological College
Depositing User: Dr Catherine Playoust
Date Deposited: 02 May 2016 01:30
Last Modified: 19 May 2016 04:10
URI: http://repository.divinity.edu.au/id/eprint/1914

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