Sunday, December 10, 2006

Hillel vs. Shammai Instone-Brewer's Take I

In the previous post the Hillel vs. Shammai was mentioned. David Instone-Brewer has a interesting theory on that 1st century AD debate between the Jews. I have not read his book yet it's in the mail. A summary appears at his website. His thesis is mentioned in a review:

"After a detailed treatment of marriage in the ancient Near East, hi the Old Testament, intertestamental sources (including the Dead Sea Scrolls) and rabbinic material, he argues that first-century Shammaite courts permitted divorce (and remarriage) only on biblical grounds of adultery or neglect; while Hillelite courts interpreted Deuter-onomy 24.1 to allow for "any matter"."

Hillelites allowed divorce for burning dinner or a prettier woman. Shammai allowed for divorce only for "porneia" roughly translated as a matter of indecency. Instone-Brewer argues that Jesus favored the Shammai as most Christians would.

Matthew 19:3 contains that 'any matter', 'any cause', or 'every cause' terminology (KJV):

The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?

Instone-Brewer asserts that Jesus was preaching against the 'any cause' Hillel divorce. This all depends on the line of questioning the Pharisees were pressing against Jesus. In Mat 19:9 Jesus was supposedly reiterating the Shammai beliefs on divorce. Instone-Brewer goes on further, I leave that for perhaps future posts after I read his book.

If the debate was Hillel vs. Shammai in the Gospels (ex Mt 5:32) this point to the man tempted in to an adulterous marriage that is (i) in the 12/09/06 post.

i) Those verses can be read as the husband taking interest in the other woman then divorcing and remarrying.

This is perhaps why Mt 5:32 is worded differently than Mt 19:9. This is taken from Jesus' sermon on the mount. Here's 5:32 again:

But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.

This verse lacks the 'other woman' and does not mention adultery on the part of the man who divorces the wife who is now an adulteress. I'll comment on her in the next post.

The Radioactive Woman - Remember we have the 'radioactive' divorced woman th
at can cause any man to commit adultery if he marries her. This is mentioned in Mt 5:32 and in Luke 16:18. The Gospels to the Jews and to the Christians respectively.

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