Thursday, August 23, 2007

Instone-Brewer's Divorce and Remarriage in 1st and 21st Century

David Instone-Brewer's website at Cambridge University contains the complete text of a book that contrast the understanding of divorce in Jesus' and modern times. An excerpt:

"I have used capital letters at the start of 'Any Matter' and 'Indecency' because, as I will show below, they are actually Jewish technical legal terms. Any Jew in the 1st century would be familiar with these terms, just as any 21st century person is familiar with terms like 'no-fault divorce' and 'maintenance'. For example, a 1st century Jew might think that a 'no-fault divorce' was one where the legal paper-work was error-free, or that 'maintenance' referred to maintaining the singleness of a divorcee. As 21st century readers, we are likely to suffer just as much misunderstanding, unless we can understand the legal jargon which Jesus is using, in the way that a 1st century reader would have understood it."

The "Any Matter", "Any Reason" or "Any Cause" divorce was discussed in previous posts. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

The first century "Any Cause" divorce is very similar to the modern "No-Fault Divorce."

Matthew 19:3 (NASB)

Some Pharisees came to Jesus, testing Him and asking, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?"

A modern version might read:

"Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife using the No-Fault method?" Or "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for no fault at all?" What will No-Fault mean 2000 years from now?

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