Thanks to a recent blog visitor, Mr. John McKeown, I was made aware of this paper (PDF) – I just realized he is also the author!
(Link): US Protestant Natalist Reception of Old Testament “Fruitful Verses”: A Critique – from The University of Liverpool
Above link no longer works, please try this one:
Thank you, Mr. McKeown, for the information. I’ve so far read only about one fourth of the paper – it’s long (and I will be reading the rest eventually) – but one thing I’ve noticed so far is that the paper makes the case that people in Jewish culture of the Old Testament era did not have children so much because they’re considered a blessing in and of themselves, or that God considers parenting a person’s highest calling in life or some other lofty, sentimental, or religious reasoning, but due to practical purposes.
Child mortality was higher back in those days, is one factor discussed. In yet another section, the paper quotes from scribes or kings in the Old Testament who said how wonderful it was to rule numerous peoples, and the reason they felt a higher population was better is that it made a king seem more kingly and impressive, and more subjects in a land meant more tax – in other words, more people meant more wealth for the king.
A desire for increased fertility was also due in part because the more citizens a nation had, the larger their army, which made it easier to defend one’s territory.
So it’s not that ancient peoples mentioned in the Bible were having kids because they thought kids were so wonderful, but due to practical, and may I say, from selfish motives, as well.
Looking over the Table of Contents of the paper, it looks as though there is a lot of material refuting some of the arguments by American Christian fertility cultists (such as Quiverfull, Reconstructionsts) in favor of militant fecundity.
As I’ve said, I’ve not read the whole thing yet for myself, but it looks to be a worthy read, especially if you’re like I am and tired of being told by certain types of Christians that you are a failure, or in sin, for not having married and had twenty kids, because God supposedly commands all believers to marry and have lots of children. I have skimmed down to read farther in the paper. Here is one line from the paper:
- Some commentators on fruitful verses note a distance between ancient and modern worlds, and warn that OT [Old Testament] pro-fertility ideas are not necessarily appropriate for contemporary application.
The paper also mentions early marriage vs. late marriage (people who marry later in life, not in their teens or twenties). Do take a look. Here is a link to the paper again:
(Link): US Protestant Natalist Reception of Old Testament “Fruitful Verses”: A Critique – from The University of Liverpool / Mr. John McKeown
Related posts this blog (please note that I have many more blog pages about these topics; what you see below is just a few selections.
Use the search features off to the right hand side of the page to find more entries like these):
(Link): Un-Happy Father’s Day!
(Link): The Child Free City