Augustine, Rousseau, and the idea of childhood1

Heythrop Journal 54 (1):77-88 (2013)
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The social history of childhood usually identifies Rousseau as the origin of our contemporary understanding of the topic. The literature describes how Rousseau's notion of childhood as a time of natural innocence became embedded in key social forms such as the family and universal education. Scholars working in the history of political thought, however, have uncovered a fundamental relationship between Rousseau and Augustine. Analysis shows that Rousseau's philosophy of childhood recapitulates many Augustinian elements, and was not therefore an ex nihilo creation



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