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Children in Ancient IsraelThe Hebrew Bible and Mesopotamia in Comparative Perspective$
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Shawn W. Flynn

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198784210

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198784210.001.0001

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Times of Transition and Stability

Times of Transition and Stability

3 (p.57) Times of Transition and Stability
Children in Ancient Israel

Shawn W. Flynn

Oxford University Press

Chapter 3 gathers times in a child’s life that are either stable or transitory. Breast-feeding and scribal training demonstrate extensions of a child’s domestic cultic value. Adoption may also be an institution ensuring those with disabilities are found a place in society. Thus the value of children in the domestic cult is echoed in the legal and institutional structures of the ancient world. Breast feeding, scribal training, and adoption practices of the ancient Near East are reading lenses for the birth and adoption of Moses in Exodus 1–2, which is argued to be structured off an adoption contract in narrative form, as an introduction to YHWH’s eventual adoption of Israel. What we learn of scribal education from Mesopotamia is applied to Psalm 78:1–9. Finally 1 Samuel 1–3 is recovered as a text that reinforces the cultic value of children rather than being a text of childhood abandonment.

Keywords:   YHWHism, scribal training, breast-feeding, adoption, Psalm 78, Exodus 1–2

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