”Gud, nu har jag bara dig” Teologiska, berättartekniska och retoriska aspekter av barnets närhet till Gud i Britt G. Hallqvists diktning
Works by the Swedish poet and hymn writer Britt G. Hallqvist (1914–97) were of crucial importance for the renewal of Christian poetry for children in Sweden during the 1960’s and 70’s. The aim of this article is to examine how the child’s relationship to God is shaped in Hallqvist’s prayers, poems and hymns for children from this period. Usually hymns for children depict God by means of description, but Hallqvist creates an active and reciprocal relationship between the child and God. She retells well-known Bible stories with a focus on children and from the perspective of children. In her poetry, she allows children to pose questions to God and to speak candidly with God, thereby enabling them to approach God with parrhesia. Furthermore, to characterize God, Hallqvist prefers metonymical devices – contiguity, personal relationships and human actions – and consequently she recognizes and defines God “by the children in his arms” (in a poem translated into English by Gracia Grindal in Preaching from Home, 2011: 223f). By such devices, Hallqvist’s Christian poetry for children becomes an ongoing conversation, characterized not by static definitions and descriptions but by action, movement and dialogue. Her so-called poetic theology turns out as inseparable from child theology, where the little child is placed in the center and regarded as foremost.
Keywords: Britt G. Hallqvist; late modern Swedish literature; Christian
poetry for children; Bible stories; parrhesia; metonymy; poetic
theology; child theology
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