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One person told me that since disciples called Jesus rabbi and since he taught in synagogues he couldn't have been a carpenter as only rabbis were allowed to teach in synagogues.

Has this matter ever been covered in Christianity? If yes, can anyone, please, give an overview on this matter?

Could Jesus have been both carpenter and a rabbi? How did a person become qualified rabbi in those times?

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7  
i'm an ordained minister and a computer programmer. These things aren't mutually exclusive, you now. –  Affable Geek Sep 7 '12 at 9:52
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Clearly Jesus was a stone mason - there was no wood around there! That's why Solomon had wood imported from Lebanon! I am partially joking. However he probably wasn't a carpenter as we know carpenters today. –  user1054 Sep 7 '12 at 13:00

3 Answers 3

up vote 7 down vote accepted

There is a third possibility: He wasn't an ordained Rabbi.

He was called rabbi out of sense of respect and he was allowed in the synagogues because of his fame. When he preached at a synagogue it says -

Luke 4:20 "The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him."

This suggests to me an event like that of a visiting celebrity than a routine occurrence.

Another important thing is the meaning of the word Rabbi. We must ask what the word meant to those who used it, not what it means to us today.

Matthew 23:8 "Don't let anyone call you 'Rabbi,' for you have only one teacher."

If the people used the word as a title of honor or synonym for teacher that wouldn't make him a Rabbi in a literal sense of the word.

Besides, it seems unlikely to me that Jesus would have joined a synagogue and got himself ordained.

He spent a great deal of time criticizing the religious system of that day including the hypocrisy of the Rabbis. He couldn't have stayed quiet in the face of any kind of hypocrisy or superstition. It would be out of character for him. I doubt that with that kind of attitude and vocal criticism of other Rabbis he would've been allowed into any synagogue, much less officially ordained.

Jesus couldn't have been a Rabbi, when he so vehemently criticized them. So much so that he got himself crucified for it.

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+1. This was originally the direction I was going to go, but changed course when I saw the article with the description of what qualifies one to be a Rabbi (linked to in my answer). I, too, don't think He was ordained in an official manner. –  David Stratton Sep 7 '12 at 6:48

I will answer this separately. Jesus Christ was a Carpenter.

Mark 6:1-3 (KJV) - "And he went out from thence, and came into his own country; and his disciples follow him. And when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him."

Jesus was also a Rabbi.

Aramaic word "Rabbi" has 2 meanings.

The root of Rabbi is Rabb means Great or Big (Book "Introduction to Syriac" by Thackston Pg. 218). Rabbi "literally" means "My Great One" ("i" at the end of Rabbi means "my" - Introduction to Syriac - Page 19).

Rabbi also means teacher or an instructor. A Teacher or instructor received the title of "Rabbi", because teachers were considered as "Great ones."

As you all know, "teachers" were well respected by all of our ancestors in the history.

Jesus was a Rabbi, because he was considered as both "a Great one" and an excellent "instructor" among people in Israel.

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The question "Was Jesus a Rabbi" is covered here. Short version: Yes, He was.

The question "Was Jesus a carpenter" is covered here. Short version, "yes, but in typical fashion people dispute the exact meaning of the word, which could also be translated as craftsman." In this case, whether carpenter could mean craftsman or stonemason or whatever other occupation doesn't matter. You're asking how he could have been a carpenter and a Rabbi.

Not to point out the obvious, but it was a career change. In His early days, He was a carpenter. Later, He began His true calling - His earthly ministry.

There is no discrepancy in Scripture referring to Him as a carpenter in one place, and as a Rabbi in another. Were someone to write about my life (what a boring book that would be) they could just as easily refer to me as a Restaurant Manager and a Software Developer, a Father, Husband, Satellite dish salesman, etc.

To answer the remaining point in your question, the first link above also covers how "one became a Rabbi in those times".

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WOW!!! Thank you! –  brilliant Sep 7 '12 at 6:38
    
David I decided to change the best answer to the one by Monika. You yourself said that it has the direction that you had firstly intended to take and you also expressed your similar thinking that Jesus was not an ordained Rabbi. Hope you are not offended. Thank for the links anyway. –  brilliant Sep 7 '12 at 7:58
    
@brilliant Not offended at all! –  David Stratton Sep 7 '12 at 11:52

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