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Title: The Exposure of Infants among Jews and Christians in Antiquity
Author: Koskenniemi, Erkki
Publisher: Sheffield Phoenix Press; Publication Date: 2009
Hardcover; ISBN: 9781906055127
Volumes: 1; Pages: xi, 192
List Price in Cloth: $85.00 Our price: $67.99
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This practice, so distasteful to the modern conscience, and shocking when we encounter it in reading about the ancient world, was nevertheless a normal feature of life in classical antiquity. There can be little doubt that both Jews and Christians, like their neighbours, must have practised the exposure of infants, whether for economic reasons, or because the child was of the wrong gender, or because of its illegitimacy. Otherwise, one can hardly explain the rich variety of arguments against the custom in rabbinic and patristic literature.In this novel and penetrating study, Koskenniemi reviews the evidence for the practice from Graeco-Roman, Jewish and Christian sources, and then, in the major part of the book, examines the rejection of the custom by Jewish authors like Philo and Josephus and by Christian writers such as Clement, Justin, Tertullian, Origen, Chrysostom and Augustine, many of whom adopted the arguments of their Jewish counterparts.