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Christ as Teacher

Christ as Teacher

 

This sculpture, from the fourth century, depicts Christ as a teacher, seated and wearing the pallium that is the distinctive garb of the philosopher. Christ holds the scroll that contains his teaching in his left hand while gesturing (as teachers do) with his right. Now in the Pio-Christian Museum in the Vatican, this sculpture most probably adorned the garden of a wealthy and cultivated convert from paganism. Christianity here comes to light as a teaching, and Christ as the teacher who provides the definitive answer to the age-old question: how best should we live? Thus Christianity is seen as falling within the continuum of the ancient quest for wisdom. Yet the sculpture also indicates the raw and shocking newness of Christ’s teaching, for the teacher here is not the venerable sage, but a young man, an adolescent with long flowing locks, eternally young, fresh and vital.

By: Fr Thomas Trottier, Cong. Orat.

St Philip's Seminary, Toronto
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