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Children's conceptions of Jesus

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This paper presents findings from a recent study investigating young children's (aged 10-11) conceptions of Jesus in England. The overall picture revealed by the study is that whilst there was a general assent amongst pupils in our sample towards an ethical and humanistic conception of the historical Jesus, there was less of a consensus about those issues which previous research claims children find difficult to understand, namely: the divinity of Jesus; the miracles of Jesus; and Christian beliefs pertaining to Jesus' continued presence in people's lives today. The paper concludes by arguing that the variety of conceptions of Jesus which are encountered in religious education (RE) may be seen by children as a barrier to learning rather than an opportunity to grow in understanding and highlights the need for further research into the relationship between children's hermeneutical horizons and RE curriculum content.
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Keywords: Jesus; children; conceptions

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: School of Education and Lifelong Learning, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK

Publication date: December 1, 2008

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