In this study, William P. Weaver aims to focus attention on the epyllion, less as an experiment in erotic narrative and more as the product of young poets demonstrating a mature grasp of the grammatical and rhetorical composition taught to them as aspiring scholars in the classroom. Accordingly he bookends his argument with an opening chapter on Erasmus (discussing the boyhood of Jesus) and an epilogue on Miltons Paradise Regained (Jesus as a youthful debater).
Weaver represents his subject matter first and foremost as food for mental discipline. While it is of course true that poets like Marlowe and Shakespeare drew upon their schoolboy lessons in rhetoric in order to construct poems and give speakers the requisite eloquence, the epyllia are love poems, some of them notoriously so. The schoolroom is the last place we would expect to find them except buried away from the masters eye at the bottom of the pupils desk.