The culture of any period is made up of many parts. Each part relates to the others, and all parts together form a background against which one must view any particular aspect of a culture.
To understand the relationship between a first-century master and his disciple, one must appreciate a number of fundamental features in the culture of that time. Central among these are the role of Torah in society and thought, and the general attitude towards education and Torah study.
Role of Torah in Society
The return of the People of Israel to their God during the Restoration of Zion in the sixth century B.C.E. was primarily marked by a renewed acceptance of the Torah and the writings of the Prophets as the teaching of God. The people again recognized that these were an expression of God’s character and desires concerning his creation.