Our project aims to strengthen theological and ethical understandings of children and our obligations to them, thereby enabling theologians and ethicists to contribute more effectively to contemporary discourse on children within religious communities, the academy, and the public sphere. The project seeks to fulfill this aim through the following activities:

  • providing opportunities for ethicists, biblical scholars, and theologians to discuss issues regarding children with religious leaders, practical theologians, and religious educators;
  • publishing foundational volumes on religious understandings of children and childhood, including one collection of essays on biblical views of the child and another on Jewish, Christian, and Muslim perspectives;
  • and encouraging the development of undergraduate and graduate courses on children and childhood in all areas of theology, ethics, and religious studies.

We hope that these and other activities will help establish reflection on children as a legitimate area of intellectual inquiry within religious studies in general and will enable theologians and ethicists to contribute more fully to interdisciplinary discussions and public policy debates on children and child well-being. We also hope that all project activities will help build up religiously informed understandings of children that include attention not only to their vulnerabilities and needs but also to the strengths and gifts that they bring to families and communities.

Who are we?

We are scholars at major universities, seminaries and colleges. We are leaders and practitioners from diverse religious traditions. We write about ethics and theology. We have a deep love for children and wish to contribute to academic, national, and international discussions about them. We are interested in interfaith dialogue as well as children's moral and spiritual development in cultures around the world.

The Child in Religion and Ethics is directed by Dr. Marcia J. Bunge, Professor of Theology and Humanities at Christ College, the honors college of Valparaiso University. She has edited The Child in Christian Thought (Eerdmans, 2001) and written several articles on children. She is currently also the co-chair of the "Childhood Studies and Religion Consultation" of the American Academy of Religion; a consultant for the "Center for the Theology of Childhood"; and a director of the international "Child Theology Movement."

During the term of the project she is offering seminars on "Children, Community, and Faith: Interfaith Perspectives" and "Biblical Perspectives on Children."

The Project is funded by the Lilly Endowment, Inc. and based at Valparaiso University.



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