Children of God uncovers the significant, but largely unnoticed, place of the child as a prototype of human flourishing in the work of four authors spanning the modern period. Shedding new light on the role of the child figure in modernity, and in theological responses to it, the book makes an important contribution to the disciplines of historical theology, theology and literature and ecumenical theology. Through a careful exploration of the continuities and differences in the work of Thomas Traherne, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Friedrich Schleiermacher and Charles Péguy, it traces the ways in which their distinctive responses to human childhood structured the broader pattern of their theology, showing how they reached beyond the confines of academic theology and exercised a lasting influence on their literary and cultural context.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction; ’God made Man greater when He made him less’: Traherne’s iconic child; ’Sense deified’: humanity in divinity; ’L’élève de la nature’: the Rousseauvian shift; ’Die reine Offenbarung des GÃ¶ttlichen’: who is Schleiermacher’s child?; ’Einheimisch’ or ’Neugeboren’?: the whereabouts of Schleiermacher’s child; ’La théologie détendue’: Péguy’s liturgical child; ’L’éternel dans le temporel’: the child as icon of hope; Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.
Edmund Newey is Vicar of St Andrew's, Handsworth in the Diocese of Birmingham. He read Modern Languages at Lincoln College, Oxford and Theology at Emmanuel College, Cambridge and has worked as a schoolteacher in Bolton and a parish priest in Manchester and Newmarket. He has written articles on a variety of subjects: on the seventeenth century Anglican divines in Modern Theology, Anglican Theological Review and Literature and Theology; on 'Reticence and Christian Orthodoxy' and 'Augustine and the Kyrie Confession' in Theology; and he has contributed to Sarah Coakley and Sam Wells (eds.), Praying for England: Priestly Presence in Contemporary Culture (Continuum, 2008), Sarah Coakley and Frankie Ward (eds.), Fear and Friendship: Anglicans Engaging with Islam (Continuum, forthcoming) and Benjamin Guyer and Katherine Silcox (eds.), Pro Communio: Theological Essays on the Anglican Covenant (Wipf and Stock, forthcoming).
’No one doubts the centrality of images of the child and childlikeness to the New Testament writings but few have charted the developed theology of the child. This masterful study takes us, via the works of Thomas Traherne, Schleiermacher and Péguy, beyond romanticized notions of childhood to the child as icon for the whole human condition before God in all its vulnerability, incompleteness and hope. Theology and literature at its best.’ Janet Soskice, University of Cambridge, UK 'A brief review cannot do justice to the sophistication and subtleties of Newey’s argument in his magisterial work.' Church Times 'Newey’s engaging style would make this book of interest for more general readers, but it will be of most use to students of the theology of childhood and theological anthropology, Thomas Traherne, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Friedrich Schleiermacher, and Charles Peguy.' Anglican Theological Review ’...this book is an important contribution to contemporary theology, especially since it focuses on a theme that is often underplayed or, at worse, neglected. Newey’s readings of the authors discussed throughout are careful and insightful, and corrects many common misperceptions.’ Reviews in Religion and Theology