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Verbum et Ecclesia

versão On-line ISSN 1609-9982

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EVANS, Annette. Relevance theory as an approach to interpreting the Bible for children: The Lucan version of the Lord's prayer as a test case. Verbum Eccles. (Online) [online]. 2014, vol.35, n.1, pp. 1-6. ISSN 1609-9982.

Recent research has demonstrated that children are sensitive to the underlying causal structure of the world and seek to form new causal representations at a much earlier age than had previously been supposed. Modern scientific understanding of the evolution of life conflicts with the biblical representation of earth as the centre of the world, and of human beings as the imago Dei. Consequently, young children frequently experience cognitive dissonance when exposed to biblical texts. Two previous pilot studies utilising specifically designed illustrated booklets demonstrated that children respond more readily to a text that is relevant to their own cultural context. This article tests the possibility of presenting a universally relevant biblical text (Lk 11:2b-4) to young children in a form that does not conflict with modern science and takes aspects of recent research on child psychology into account. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: In our postmodern cultural context children tend to experience cognitive dissonance when exposed to biblical texts, and consequently lose interest. This article proposes that by presenting the biblical content in accordance with Relevance Theory, and in coherence with recent scientific explanatory theories, the interest of the children may be sustained.

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