Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 18 June 2019

Abstract and Keywords

With the rise of Christianity came an enhanced focus on the lives and pursuits of children. Thus, material drawn from early Christian texts, especially homilies and hagiographical writings, allows us to construct a fuller picture of late antique childhood. Because children could be fully initiated into this new religion, they were also eligible to hold minor offices and to enter monastic communities. Accompanying these concrete practices was a developing concept of the child. This notion was strongly ambivalent. On one hand, children were praised as ideal disciples who possessed ascetic virtues “by nature.” On the other, they were invoked as figures of unrestrained passion and worldly concern: the epitome of a lack of virtue. Early Christian authors mobilized both sets of associations to convey their understanding of basic human nature and to shame their listeners into moral renovation.

Keywords: Asceticism, baptism, child, disciple, Christianity, education (moral and literary), hagiography, initiation, liturgical participation, monasteries

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.