Jesus’ Education

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One can form a reasonably accurate picture of what Jesus was doing in his childhood and adolescence.

Updated: 17 January 2024

A careful reading of the New Testament suggests that Jesus was a scholar learned in the Scriptures and religious literature of the period, which was vast and varied. Yet the popular Christian view of Jesus is that he was a simple, uneducated character from the provinces. This misunderstanding is due in part to a number of disparaging statements made about Nazareth and the Galilee such as, “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” (John 1:46), and “Utterly amazed, they asked: ‘Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans?’” (Acts 2:7).

These New Testament statements may reflect a Judean bias against Galileans. Some Judeans may have seen themselves as cultured and cosmopolitan. To them, the Galileans were provincials whose accent seemed coarse and unrefined.

Actually, however, the reverse may have been true: the Galileans were the more exposed to the outside world while the Judeans, living in the interior of the land, were partially sheltered from contact with foreign nations. The Galilee also was more urban, with many developed villages. Judea, by contrast, was generally more rural in character.

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This article originally appeared in two parts. Part two appeared in issue 15 of the Jerusalem Perspective magazine. Click on the image above to view a PDF of the original magazine article.
This article originally appeared in two parts. Part one appeared in issue 14 of the Jerusalem Perspective magazine. Click on the image above to view a PDF of the original magazine article.

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  • David N. Bivin

    David N. Bivin
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    David N. Bivin is founder and editor of Jerusalem Perspective. A native of Cleveland, Oklahoma, U.S.A., Bivin has lived in Israel since 1963, when he came to Jerusalem on a Rotary Foundation Fellowship to do postgraduate work at the Hebrew University. He studied at the Hebrew…
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