Chapter 5 is the third and final case study on “sites of memory” related to childhood in the Graeco-Roman world. The focus is on the stories of Jesus’ interaction with teachers at school (and in the Jerusalem temple), considered in the context of ancient elementary education. The “sites” investigated include educational handbooks, visual art on walls and small objects, physical evidence for classroom spaces, and school exercises preserved on papyri. In addition, the chapter calls special attention to the way that Jesus manipulates (and thereby demonstrates mastery over) letters in these stories: these alphabetic details are therefore read in relation not only to pedagogical practices such as penmanship but also to philosophical speculation, as evidenced by an early Christian gnostic community who read the stories about Jesus and his teachers in these terms.
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