The Myth of the ‘Ignorant Fishermen’

From time to time (oh alright, just about every day) someone (who doesn’t know what they’re talking about) will insist that theology doesn’t matter because the disciples were just simple fishermen and villagers who followed Jesus around and they just loved him so much that they didn’t need any theology to be faithful.


What the ‘ignorant fishermen’ mythicists don’s understand, because in their deep ignorance they don’t know it, is that the disciples were precisely that.  Disciples.  And what is a disciple?  A learner.  A student.

Jesus was a rabbi.  He’s described as such and as such he had studied with rabbis and been himself a rabbinic student.  And what is a rabbinic student? A theologian.

Jesus was a theologian who gathered around himself theological students (rabbis) to whom he taught – what was it – oh yes, theology.

Accordingly, Jesus didn’t have ignorant illiterate hicks following him around he had serious students who were expected to do their homework, learn their lessons, and apply those lessons.

So at the end of the day the people who think theology doesn’t matter and who love to say that they are just ‘simple followers of Jesus’ have absolutely no idea how Jesus worked.  Nor how the disciples worked.  Nor how the early church worked.  They really, to be fair to them, just have some weird notions they cooked up in their own heads to justify their own theological ignorance.  They delude themselves and in their delusions wish to deceive others.

They are dilettantes.  If they want to be dilettantes, super. They just shouldn’t pretend that their views of Jesus matter to anyone.

About Jim

I am a Pastor, and Lecturer in Church History and Biblical Studies at Ming Hua Theological College.
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6 Responses to The Myth of the ‘Ignorant Fishermen’

  1. Ben says:

    Are there any resources you would recommend on the role or form of education in 1st century Palestine in the context of rabbis and disciples?


  2. They may have been ignorant in astrophysics and so am I. But they understood Jewish law and religion, and as such, theology, as available in those days! I despise the “ignorance” argument because it is itself ignorant!


  3. Oh, and in many of the dialogues between Jesus and his disciples the questions asked demonstrated that they had knowledge of Jewish theology and often the conversation prompts given by Jesus such as “you have heard (taught) that it has been said” indicates that Jesus knew that they had theological understanding… Man this hits a nerve on me…


    • Jim says:

      the ignorance myth is beloved of people who are totally unfamiliar with the way things were then and they simply want to ‘level the playing field’, down to their uninformed level of course. not up.

      Liked by 1 person

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