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versión On-line ISSN 2304-8557
versión impresa ISSN 0023-270X

Koers (Online) vol.76 no.1 Pretoria  2011




God is: Children's Bibles and Bible storybooks' presentation of religious values1


God is: Kinderbybels en Bybelstorieboeke se uitbeelding van godsdienstige waardes



J.S. du Toit

International Institute for Studies of Race, Reconciliation & Social Justice, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein. E-mail:




This article considers children's Bibles and Bible storybooks as vehicles for the transfer of God concepts from one generation to the next - as God is considered central to the portrayal of the confessional attributes of the religious collective. It identifies both the commercial and religious imperatives controlling the prevailing attributes assigned as characteristic of the divine. The presentation of the nature of God is found to align with the commercial target audience for children's Bibles: mothers and female caregivers who purchase the books on behalf of their charges and read and interpret the Bibles to the child. But it also coincides with the preferred attributes associated with a supernatural being by young children. Ultimately, God is found to be consistently portrayed by means of maternal attributes of love, protection and care in contrast to the more ambivalent portrayal of God in the adult biblical text.

Key concepts: children's Bibles, God concept, religious translation, religious values


Hierdie artikel ondersoek Kinderbybels en Bybelstorieboeke as 'n manier waarop begrippe van God van een geslag na die volgende oorgedra word, aangesien God as sentraal in die uitbeelding van die godsdienstige waardes van die religieuse kollektief beskou kan word. Dit identifiseer sowel die kommersiële as die godsdienstige imperatiewe wat beheer uitoefen oor die bestaande kenmerke wat as tipiese karakteristieke eienskappe van die goddelike uitgebeeld word. Die bevinding is dat hierdie eienskappe goed in pas is met die kommersiële teikengehoor vir Kinderbybels: moeders en vroulike versorgers wat hierdie boeke namens kinders koop en dit vir die kind lees en interpreteer. Hierdie eienskappe kom egter ook ooreen met die voorkeureienskappe wat jong kinders met 'n bonatuurlike wese assosieer. Ten slotte word bevind dat God konsekwent uitgebeeld word in terme van moederlike eienskappe soos liefde, beskerming en sorg. Dit strook nie noodwendig met die ambivalente uitbeelding van God in die volwasse teks nie.

Kernbegrippe: godsdienstige vertaling, godsdienstige waardes, Kinderbybels, konsep/begrip van God



Full text available only in PDF format.



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1 This article represents research conducted as part of a larger project entitled, "Bible interpretation in children's literature: the transfer and interpretation of Bible (religious) knowledge from diverse institutional and parental sources to children - visual and literary interplay". The project is funded by the South African National Research Foundation's (NRF) Thuthuka Program. Any opinion, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author. The NRF does not accept any liability in regard thereto.

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