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Sanctity and Society: the anti-theme of childhood innocence in the English Courtesy Books

Sanctity and Society: the anti-theme of childhood innocence in the English Courtesy Books

Bellis, Joanna

Marginalia, Vol. 8, Cambridge Yearbook, (2008)

Abstract

The debate in patristic literature over the native quality of childhood, properly characterised by purity and simplicity, or as the fruit of a lustful act, tainted by original sin, was inherited by the popular literature of the Middle Ages in a number of indirect ways. Augustine, responding to the Pelagian challenge to original sin, held that

imbecillitas membrorum infantilium innocens est, non animus infantium. the feebleness of the infant limbs is innocent, not the infant’s mind.

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