Sunday, September 06, 2009

How to find out what kind of 'Teacher' was Jesus?

Here is an except from my essay on the question "Compare and contrast the presentation of Jesus as Teacher in the Gospels of Matthew and Mark."

As preliminary, first, we have to recognize the fact that Jesus was juxtaposed with other ancient Jewish teaching authorities like the Pharisees, Scribes, and Sadducees to draw out the distinctive of Jesus’ ministry in both gospels.[2] Secondly, we should avoid anachronism that reads the term ‘teachers’ as equivalent to the educationists of our modern era whose job is to teach certain academic subjects in schools. The function of these ancient teachers was often extended far beyond the school’s wall into the socio-economic and religio-political dimension of the Jewish community. Rather they are likened to influential “intellectual leaders”[3] and, to some extent, equivalent to the Greco-Roman philosophers whose teachings implicated the socio-political current of that time.[4] Thirdly, we have to keep in mind the sole mission that Jesus has taken upon himself; a mission that eventually cost him his life. Both gospels clarify with precision and urgency of this mission right at the beginning of his ministry by recording him announcing, “Time's up! God's kingdom is here. Change your life and believe this message.”[5]


[2] Anthony J. Saldarini, Pharisees, Scribes, and Sadducees in Palestinian Society (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1989), 144-173. The gospels’ data must be examined within the larger socio-political context in first century Palestine.

[3] Ibid., 268. For an appreciation of these intellectual leaders’ roles within the social conflict caused by Roman imperialism over the Jewish communities, see Richard A. Horsley, Archaeology, History, and Society in Galilee: The Social Context of Jesus and the Rabbis, (Valley Forge, PA: Trinity Press International, 1996).

[4] N.T. Wright, New Testament and the People of God (London: SPCK, 1992), 185-203.

[5] An edited version from The Message Bible (Mk 1.15/Mt 4.17). All other citations of the Scripture are taken from the English Standard Version Bible unless otherwise stated.

1 comment:

Steven Sim said...

Good one! TTC should shoot u up to PhD straight!

Steven Sim