Jesus' Literacy: Scribal Culture and the Teacher from Galilee

Chris Keith

Jesus' Literacy: Scribal Culture and the Teacher from Galilee
Jesus' Literacy: Scribal Culture and the Teacher from Galilee

Book Information

Jesus' Literacy: Scribal Culture and the Teacher from Galilee provides the first book-length treatment of the literate status of the Historical Jesus Despite many scholars' assumptions that Jesus was an illiterate peasant or, conversely, even a Pharisee none have critically engaged the evidence to ask 'Could Jesus read or write?' Some studies have attempted to provide a direct answer to the question using the limited primary evidence that exists. However, these previous attempts have not been sufficiently sensitive to the literary environment of Second Temple Judaism, an area that has seen significant scholarly progression in the last ten to fifteen years. They have provided unnuanced classifications of Jesus as either 'literate' or 'illiterate' rather than observing that literacy at this time did not fall into such monolithic categories. An additional contribution of this work will is in the area of criteria of authenticity in Historical Jesus studies. Emphasizing plausibility and the later effects of the Historical Jesus Chris L. Keith argues that the most plausible explanation for why the early Church remembered Jesus simultaneously as a literate Jewish teacher and an illiterate Jewish teacher was that he was able to convince his contemporaries of both realities.

Formerly the Journal for the Study of the New Testament Supplement, a book series that explores the many aspects of New Testament study including historical perspectives, social-scientific and literary theory, and theological, cultural and contextual approaches. The Early Christianity in Context series, a part of JSNTS, examines the birth and development of early Christianity up to the end of the third century CE. The series places Christianity in its social, cultural, political and economic context. European Seminar on Christian Origins and Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus Supplement are also part of JSNTS.

  • Table Of Contents
  • Foreword Dale C. Allison, Jr.
  • Preface
  • Abbreviations
  • Introduction: Jesus, Reading and Writing
  • 1: Jesuses Literate and Illiterate
  • 2: Jesus Tradition, Memory, and What Really Happened
  • 3: Scribal Culture in the Time of Jesus
  • 4: Jesus' Scribal -Literate Status in Early Christianity
  • 5: Jesus and Scribal Literacy
  • Concluding Remarks: the Controversy of Jesus the Teacher


Pages: 240
Publisher: T&T Clark
Published: 2013
ISBN-10: 0567533972
ISBN-13: 9780567533975

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