Illiterate Apostles: Uneducated Early Christians and the Literates Who Loved Them

Allen Hilton

Illiterate Apostles: Uneducated Early Christians and the Literates Who Loved Them
Illiterate Apostles: Uneducated Early Christians and the Literates Who Loved Them

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Pagan critics ridiculed the early Christians for being uneducated. We know this, because a few Christians took up pen to defend the uneducated members of their churches. Peculiarly, though, in their “defense” these authors openly admit that the critics have the facts on their side. The Book of Acts even calls two of its heroes, Peter and John, illiterates. Why did these authors, intent on presenting Christianity in a positive light, volunteer such a negative detail? The answer to this question reveals a fascinating social exchange that surrounded education levels in antiquity and made its way into the New Testament Book of Acts.

Scholars of early Christianity and of Greco-Roman social history will appreciate the window this book opens into the social construction of ancient education. The shopworn study of the apologists' rhetoric is also revitalized when it ushers us into the everyday experience of ancient Christians and those who disdained and defended them.

  • Table of contents
  • Preface
  • Abbreviations
  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction
  • Part One – Why Were Christians Criticized?
    • A Social Description of Ancient Education
    • A Case Study in Ancient Attitudes The Christians and the Schools
  • Part Two – An Early Christian Answer
    • The Social Dynamics of Courageous Speech (Parrhesia)
    • Uneducated Virtue
    • The Education of the Apostles
  • Conclusion: Love Across Lines
  • Bibliography
  • Index


Pages: 224
Publisher: T&T Clark
Published: 2018
ISBN-10: 0567662888
ISBN-13: 9780567662880

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