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Verbum et Ecclesia

versão On-line ISSN 2074-7705
versão impressa ISSN 1609-9982

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EVANS, Annette H.. The Bible for children in a postmodern context: How do children form explanatory concepts?. Verbum Eccles. (Online) [online]. 2014, vol.35, n.1, pp.1-7. ISSN 2074-7705.

A previous paper on methodological considerations in interpreting the Bible for children explored the problem of the cognitive gap between biblical interpreter and child. This research is a follow-up as a result of recognition of necessary adjustments in the way that child evangelism is usually approached (via 'original sin'). In our current context of postmodernism, the manner and consequences of biblical knowledge transfer between adult and child need to be explored. Recent research suggests 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 we had previously supposed. 'Intellectualists' in the anthropology of religion hold that religion is primarily concerned with providing explanatory theories, thus indicating that children need help to achieve coherence between biblical and scientific views on creation. This article presents the rationale for an early intervention to avoid the cognitive dissonance that often arises as children grow up and find a lack of coherence between their early evangelisation and the latest scientific discoveries. To test this hypothesis a multilingual illustrated booklet in English, Afrikaans and isiXhosa was designed to be individually read by parents in each language group to their own 5-8-year-old children. Children's Bible stories have always been 'pretexts for passing along values' and this booklet is no different. The purpose of the booklet was to lay a foundation for children to find Christianity relevant even in the multicultural context of vast scientific and technological advances. The subjects' responsiveness was recorded by video camera, and afterwards the parents were individually interviewed and asked to assess the child's level of interest and to comment on the booklet. Results of this pilot study indicated that the booklet was well received. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: In today's postmodern, global cultural context children need help to achieve coherence between biblical and scientific versions of creation. This pilot study tests an evangelical booklet designed to lay a foundation for children to find Christianity relevant even in the multi-cultural context of vast scientific and technological advances.

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