Kafkaesque Innocence

All of these children were between seven and twelve years old (except for Edward J., who despite his Kafkaesque outlook on life is listed as “under seven”).

Thus Alan Jacobs in a truly fascinating article on children’s Bibles. The children in question are participants in a sort of Platonic Dialogue on the Gospels with a 19th century transcendentalist. The Kafkaesque Edward J. says: “Death is necessary for any judgment.”

2 thoughts on “Kafkaesque Innocence

  1. An interesting article, but one that nearly misses the point. Though children are innocent in a sense that they do not commit evil, nevertheless the knowledge of evil does not make one evil, and children certainly have knowledge of evil. Adam himself in the garden was indeed like a child; he knew that God was God, and to disobey God was evil- I don’t think it’s theologically possible for him to bear the guilt of the fall if he did not know that much (though please correct me if I’m wrong).

    Children are not corrupted when you tell them evil exists, they know that for themselves. As Chesterton says “One small child in the dark can invent more hells than Swedenborg. One small child can imagine monsters too big and black to get into any picture, and give them names too unearthly and cacophonous to have occurred in the cries of any lunatic*.” What children need is the knowledge that evil can be defeated, that God has won the war. This is where the Catholic tradition of telling children the lives of the Saints with their Christ-like example, far exceeds the Protestant tradition of Bibles stories only, where God works through frail fallen men (though I do believe Bible stories are important). It would have been a very different interview had the transcendentalist talked to well taught Catholic children, with their feasts and saints and appreciation of all God’s works, and I think the author of the article misses this entirely.

    Thank you for the link, Pater, it was a very informative article. I hope my comment wasn’t to long, and may God grant you a blessed day!

    *”The Red Angel” Tremendous Trifles


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