E DUCATING J ESUS : T HE S EARCH FOR A P LAUSIBLE C ONTEXT Paul Foster University of Edinburgh Edinburgh, Scotland A BSTRACT Many reconstructions of the life of the historical Jesus have tended to portray him as being born into illiterate peasant stock. By so doing, signiﬁcant statements in the Gospels, both canonical and non-canonical, are ignored. While much caution is needed, since there is a tendency to valorize the young Jesus in early Christian literature and to heighten miraculous events surrounding his childhood, nonethe- less there are indicators that Jesus’ background did not reﬂect the lowest echelons of Galilean peasantry. Instead, it is suggested that internal Gospel evidence and knowledge of aspects of the social milieu of ﬁrst-century Judaism give weight to seeing Jesus as a person with what would now be classiﬁed as functional on basic literacy levels. Key words: Alpha-Beta logion, Dead Sea Scrolls, education, historical Jesus, Infancy Gospel of Thomas , Josephus, literacy, non-canonical Gospels, Quintilian Introduction: The Changing Attitudes Concerning Jesus’ Education There was a time when New Testament scholarship knew much about the child- hood, upbringing, education and formative inﬂuences that shaped the boy Jesus. One only has to turn
Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2006
Keywords: non-canonical Gospels; Infancy Gospel of Thomas; literacy; historical Jesus; education; Dead Sea Scrolls; Josephus; Alpha-Beta logion; Quintilian
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