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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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The Pre-Born Child

The Pre-Born Child

Chapter:
2 (p.24) The Pre-Born Child
Source:
Children in Ancient Israel
Author(s):

Shawn W. Flynn

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198784210.003.0002

A previously unstudied stage of the child’s life in current scholarship, the pre-born child is an essential expression of the child’s life in the ancient Near East. Through Mesopotamian medical texts, personal letters, prayers, and the mythology that intersects with this data set, thought on pre-born and birthing children strongly suggests the child’s value in domestic cult. In particular the connection between child and deity is an important connection between the child and the domestic cult that underpins the question of value. This data illustrates how the child is understood in ancient Israel, showing that texts like Jeremiah 1 and Psalm 139 are rooted in a wider comparative matrix. Here we see where Israelite intersects and diverges from its cultural matrix to make unique claims about YHWH through the pre-born child.

Keywords:   pre-born children, birthing children, child–deity connections, Jeremiah, Psalms

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