I learned something interesting yesterday and I thought I would share.
In rabbinical Judaism, there are varying degrees of illegitimacy of a child. The lowest possible kind was a mamzer – the child of adultery, incest or other vile sexual sin.
But there is another type called a shetuki. This word literally means “silent one” and indicates that the child does not know his/her father’s name. In other words, this is a child of sexual promiscuousness or prostitution. While someone could marry the unwed mother and therefore adopt a shetuki and become his father legally, the child was still excluded from marriage within the priestly and rabbinical circles. As such, a shetuki could never become a rabbi since rabbis were required to be married.
So, what does this have to do with Jesus?
Jesus would have been a shetuki since everyone knew that Joseph was not his biological father. Jesus was conceived during Mary and Joseph’s engagement but was obviously not Joseph’s.
This means Jesus could not have been a rabbi (beside the fact that rabbis had to be married).
When commentators make Jesus out to be a Jewish rabbi, they are missing this important note about his origin. The rabbinical schools were extremely demanding about who they accepted as students – regardless how promising a potential student might have been.