Quote Originally Posted by Pompey Bum View Post
I would be careful, though, not infer much about the social role of children during the Second Temple period from their later importance in Rabbinic Judaism (which technically speaking did not exist at the time). From what we can tell (mostly from Josephus), Second Temple Judaism was a different kettle of fish.

But okay, fine, looking at the post-war, pre-Rabbinic, Gospel narrative and its effect on the way people thought about children over time (which is, as the hippies used to say, your bag) is certainly worth doing.
It is just a ramble, we do not need to be careful

Anyways, there is certain cultural traits which are linked to something you pointed ahead: it was very easy to die when you were a child. Our modern society changes it and the perception of what is a children dies. Most of those older (and traditional societies) had this passage momment that the kid jumped to adulthood - which meant to do all choirs and meet the demand of any addult and not only the sexual life and marriage. When we get a traditional society that still around - for example a hunting tribe, the 7-8 years is when the kid must hunt also to provide his share of food. The boys will be out of the mother's guard. Etc. We can expect the hebrew society to have similar approaches.

From a critical perspective, it is impossible to infer the historicity of the anecdote from its supposedly casual nature. That shouldn't bother us though, since we are now looking at the natural history of a narrative rather than the historical context of a saying. Your question is whether the anecdote contributed to a change (as you say, a radical one) in the social position of children. To know that, we would have to have a better record than we do of the fragmented and sometimes outlaw communities that used the Gospel texts between the 2nd and 4th centuries (that is, before the conversion of Constantine and the normalization of Christian beliefs in the Roman empire. But since we don't, it's almost impossible to say. Welcome to ancient history.
Of course, just speculation. But I read some of Mamoinides and I do not recall him giving an extra or different care about children either. And funny enough, a heir of that time, Muhammad has a story that he also said the circle closer to Allah in Heaven is where the children go. I think the pressure caused by children death put a lot of pressure in how children was seen and that caused similar approaches. But well...

It's an interesting question. My other hobby (besides reading) is genealogy. I'm always amazed at the numbers of children my farmer ancestors had in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries (even pious Quakers couldn't keep their business in their pockets). Sometimes women would have 10 or 12 children then die (often in childbirth). Their husbands would then marry 19 year olds and have another 10 or 12 kids. There plenty of infant deaths (it makes the genealogy hard because they would often recycle the same names), but I suspect infant and childhood mortality increased the value of children in parents' eyes (understanding that value to be based in part on the child's ability to help in the fields--the reason they wanted to have so many kids in the first place). In that context, it is interesting that Dorothy doesn't have siblings. But I suppose she is an orphan since she lives with her aunt and uncle. Agrarian life could be precarious for adults, too.
Yes. My greathfather even had the same name of a brother that last 5 months a year before his birth. Children vallue was big but linked with the shadow of death - they could die easily, so lets be sure there will be plenty of them. Something quite primal, but logical and reflected in many ways in the narratives (the special sittuation of primogeny, or only children, the narratives of civil wars around family disuputes, the evil stepmothers which are born from the dispute of heritage, etc.) and shapped the view that children had. As soon medicine worked out and the mortality reduced, the pull for more children reduced too. And of course, more things we had to do with children, more time to care about her, pedagogy, blablabla.

I suspect, in our times anyway, it is too some extent a marketing concept. Teenagers have money now, and they are dumb enough to be too free with it, so they become a lucrative demographic. I don't know enough about psychology to understand whether being a teenager is socially constructed (or perhaps I just don't trust psychologists enough). But give a 16 year old a rifle and send him to the Battle of Chickamauga and he may find adulthood thrust upon him. Give him a computer game and send him to his room and he'll remain a teenager for some time to come (much to someone's financial gain).
Of course, there is a market concept over it, but it is not what created that. That is how it can be explored. It is born from school experience - at the moment our socieyt deem that teenagers should be in school and not working (even more), we had to deal with them more and more. Remember, working, making our own money, is a more concrete symbol of adulthood than beard. It is not different from old age, at the moment retirement became a more concrete reality, we had to deal/understand/produce for this new age category.

Original sin was not formulated per se until long after the Gospels were written. But it was not long after the Christianizing of Rome (when we can finally see something about the way Christians thought about children), and it was first articulated gat least in writing that survives) not in in Europe but in North Africa by Augustine. The 3rd-century Origen (another North African) had a higher anthropology, but again, there was very little sense of orthodoxy in his time (indeed, much of his work was burned once there was). I do not know whether Origen cited the "suffer the little children" saying/anecdote in his thoughts about human nature or if Augustine used it in his. It would be interesting research for a graduate student to take on. But for our discussion, the bottom line is that prior to Augustine's time, the Christian position on human nature would largely have depended on which elder you asked.
Oh, well, when we study the artistic representation of dead/death, we get in the identification of children with cherubs. As you well know, angels had nothing to do with that image and this imaginery was born from mourning of young children dying (of course, this is higher class we are talking here) so the statues, portraits ,etc created the image. The idea to represent the inocence of a child going to heaven was there, it was a big concern, but it was past VI century, so yeah, this is something post augustyne and cia.

Yes, she's too white for the racists. Plus MGM would have sued the ears off of Disney if they'd tried anything.
Baum is public domain now, so no need to worry with MGM, as if Disney couldnt buy them anyways...

Well, I suppose one is as dangerous as the other if you end up dead. But my point was that Dorothy's danger was more personal. She had accidentally killed the witch's sister and was the object of a vendetta of sorts. So her world, despite its wonders, was filled with dread. Alice faces a more arbitrary, capricious sort of danger (unpredictable people in a mad world). But Wonderland is not a dreadful place as Oz can be at times. Carroll's zany logic underpins the things that happen there.
Yeah, but that is it: it is personal because there is an organization there that implies her actions had consequences, rules to be broken and amended. Is Alice even doing "acting"?

I was thinking that Oz's combination of dread (that is, anxiety) and wonder was yet another reason that Dorothy should have been a teenager. But in light of our discussion above, maybe we are missing the point. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was published in 1900, when childhood's vision of splendor in the grass was mitigated by genuine horrors like meningitis, measles, and polio. Perhaps Dorothy's world is sometimes desperate because that was part of being a child at the time, at least children from hersocioeconomic stratum. The horror, if not the witch, was real in a way). Lewis' Carroll's protégées, by contrast, came from a safer (though not altogether safe) level of society. There were ugly duchesses and potentially dangerous aristocrats, but there were no witches seeking your extermination.
This could make sense if Baum had the option of having her as a teenager. I think both Carroll (even more, because he had a model) imagined little girls because they had no intention to concern with girls old enough to be married, which happened to teenagers back them. Sure, could work if they were 11, but the 7-9 years is a safe age to not allow any sexual tension to slip in the narrative by any accident.

Yes, I recall your convincing me the last time we talked about this that Baum was influenced by Grimm. It seems obvious to me now (the cursed ax and the woodsman cutting his own body to pieces, etc.), but I was probably thinking of the MGH movie, which is rather sui generis. Dorothy does express amazement that a scarecrow can talk--at least in the movie. I don't remember if she does soin the book, but I would guess so since it sets up dialogue potentially important to Baum's Populist analogy about the scarecrow having no brains. Something like:

Dorothy: Well, if you don't have any brains, then how can you talk?

Scarecrow: Oh, some people without brains do an awful lot of talking.

Alice would surely have been curious, too, although her response would probably have been more detached, as with: "Well! I've often seen a cat without a grin...but a grin without a cat! It's the most curious thing I ever saw in my life!" Dorothy is fighting for her life. Alice is at risk, too, but somehow she's always just passing through.
Dorothy is being the person arguing a Green talking backward Gnome being the wisest warrior in the universe was unrealistic in a universe where sounds happens in space. She is not surprised (if it is like that) with a talking scarecrow, but a with brainless person talking. Very rational she is.

Thanks. I only know about him from Mario Vargas Llosa's novel about the Canudos rebellion. I guess Dom Sebastião was important to Conselheiro's millennialism.
In portugal, the waiting for Sebastião is known as sebastianismo, some sort of cultural attitude of expecting the return of "lost good times" symbolized by Dom Sebastião and the age of discovery that was the top of Portugal political power. Conselheiro had this "attitude" , not exactly the desire for Dom Sebastião, but rather how he would restaure the monarchy in Brazil and bring back the "better times" before the republic.