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Tiny Voices From the Past: a research project

October 2015
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A research project, centered at the University of Oslo, Department of Philosophy, Classics, History of Arts, and Ideas, is approaching its end. The project (2013-2016) studies the lives of children and attitudes to childhood at a culturally formative stage of European culture: Antiquity and the Early/High Middle Ages. It covers the period from the fifth century BC to the twelfth century AD, but with an emphasis on the period from the first to the eight century.

The project focuses particularly on three types of material:

  • Early Christian apocryphal stories about the childhoods of Jesus and his mother Mary (the Infancy Gospels of Thomas and James),
  • Works by central thinkers (philosophical, theological, political) which reflect different notions about children and childhood, and
  • Material and remains that can in various ways document the lives and experiences of the children themselves (children’s letters, papyrus documents, toys, stories etc.).

Further information about background, methology and scope of the project can be found here (Pdf).

As a part of this project, there will be a Seminar with guest lecturer Professor Margaret MacDonald, Dean of Arts, Saint Mary’s University, Halifax; Canada, presenting “Bringing Children to the Forefront: Small People, Big Questions”

“Taking MacDonald’s recent book The Power of Children: The Construction of Christian Families in the Greco-Roman World as a point of departure, researchers involved in Childhood Studies, Ancient History and New Testament Studies will introduce a discussion on what role different kinds of children may have played, how/if we can get access to traces of real children in the sources, and how childhood perspectives may challenge given ideas about early Christian families, societies and power systems.”

Time and place:
Oct 13, 2015 01:15 PM – 03:00 PM, U305, Domus Theologica, University of Oslo


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