February 22, 2005

TheJerusalem Festival / Crystal

The Jews were amazed and said, "How does he know scripture without having studied?"

... some time ago there was an interesting discussion at the writer's bbs about whether Jesus was illiterate or not. A note about this line in the NAB reads ... Children were taught to read and write by means of the scriptures. But here more than Jesus' literacy is being discussed; the people are wondering how he can teach like a rabbi. Rabbis were trained by other rabbis and traditionally quoted their teachers

Why are you trying to kill me?"
The crowd answered, "You are possessed! Who is trying to kill you?"

... I guess this means they thought Jesus was crazy (possessed by a demon)?

Jesus answered and said to them, "I performed one work (healing the paralytic) and all of you are amazed ... are you angry with me because I made a whole person well on a sabbath? Stop judging by appearances, but judge justly"

... this seems to be again about the spirit of the law being more important than the letter of the law. I wonder if they were angry with him not just for breaking the law of not working on the Sabbath but also because he was challenging them ... to think outside the rulebook, to be compassionate, to act up for a good cause even if it got you in trouble.


At 3:37 p.m., Blogger Larry said...

Crystal, it's hard for me to believe that Jesus was not literate, since almost everything he is recorded as saying has a biblical source.

"are you angry with me ..." I think they were angry with him for the very reason you state: he was pointing out to them just how childish and even peurile their religious activity was.

He put them (the 'Jews' according to John, actually the temple authorities) in the position where they had to believe him or kill him.

Two of them may have believed him: Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimetheia. If there were others we don't know who they were.

At 6:42 p.m., Blogger Marjorie said...

Crystal, is this a picture of the poor widow making her offering or something else? If its the widow's offering, I was wondering how it ties in to this passage.

Regardless, its beautiful, thanks for sharing it.

At 7:00 p.m., Blogger crystal said...

Hi Marjorie :-). Yes, that's Gustav Dore's illustration of the widow giving her "mite".

At 12:18 p.m., Blogger david said...

It seems possible to me that Jesus was illiterate. Almost everything he saus is rooted in scripture yet he seems to cite it from memory.

If he was illiterate he listened to others read aloud and memorized what he heard.

What difference do you see in whether he was illiterate or not? Do you read some passages differently if he was illiterate?

At 12:38 p.m., Blogger crystal said...

David, about Jesus being literate or not ... makes no difference to me.

At 12:41 p.m., Blogger crystal said...

Marjorie ... forgot to answer your other question - how does this picture of the widow giving her offering tie in to this passage - it doesn't. I picked it by mistake, thinking it was a picture of Jesus teaching in the temple :-)

At 3:58 p.m., Blogger Marjorie said...

David, maybe I'm being too supernatural on this, but if Jesus is the Word, perhaps the Word is implanted within him and he had no need to listen and memorize.

Crystal -- good, I'm glad I'm not missing anything about the pic!

At 9:35 a.m., Blogger Meredith said...

Re: Literacy of Jesus
I have been thinking about this literacy vs illiteracy notion and find it is meaningful in this discussion. If Jesus was illiterate, then a) he did memorize, but more importantly, b) he spoke from his heart about that which one cannot get only from scripture. In either case, he spoke his truth in new - maybe even radical ways, ways he had not just heard or read about. Therefore, I sense that reading or knowing scripture is like a base of support, but it is not essential for being able to speak our truth from our hearts.


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