Jesus’ Education

Where Jesus obtained his education is not recorded in the Gospels or Church histories, but it is apparent that he was educated. Scholars know little about the availability of formal education for peasant or working classes in 1st century Judea and Galilee. Nazareth was a small Galilean village that went relatively unnoticed in the Old Testament, the pseudepigrapha, rabbinical literature, and early histories. As a result, many scholars claim that Nazareth did not exist at the time of Jesus and the Gospel accounts are again, little white lies based on a mistranslation of Nezer (Gr. Nazaraios) meaning Jesus was a "Nazarite" and not from Nazareth. Archaeological excavations show that Nazareth was occupied in the 7th century B.C.E. and apparently refounded in the 2nd century B.C.E. Robert North makes a good argument that the present town of Nazareth sits on the site of the Nazareth of Jesus. The Palestinian Talmud and the Babylonian Talmud relate that it was ordered by Simeon ben Shetah (103-76 B.C.E.) that every district and town have a Bet ha-Sefer, "School of the Book." The most likely source of Jesus’ education may have been the synagogue school in Nazareth. The family of Jesus could have afforded to educate the male children if a fee was charged. There were extensive building projects underway in Sepphoris and the "Ten City" region, which would have supplied sufficient income for a family of Tektons (building craftsmen). Another source would have been Joseph himself. Either through happenstance or design, we know next to nothing about Jesus’ father. I think it safe to assume, however, that Joseph was a very observant Jew, if not a Hasid himself. The beginnings of all of the bar Yosef boys’ educations would have begun with him. The extreme piety of Yaqub (James, the Righteous) and the other sons is testimony.


Jesus reading from the Isaiah in the synagogue at Nazareth


Did Jesus have brothers and sisters?