Sunday, November 04, 2007

Hillel Vs. Shammai Pharisees, What Jesus May Have Said Regarding Polygamy

In the previous post and many before that the debate between two schools of Pharisees, the Hillel and Shammai was discussed. In Matthew 19:9 Jesus appears to side with the Shammai school for 'adultery only' for 'indecency' in Dt 24:1.

The Shammai school endorsed traditional Judaic values, with the Hillels appearing to adopt Greco-Roman influences. Divorce in G-R law was instantaneous and not require any particular reason, much like our modern No-Fault divorces. The 'Any Cause' divorce mentioned in Mt 19:3 and in Josephus, Philo and the Talmud may have been one of those Hillel adaptations.

What about polygamy? The OT does not forbid polygamy, and the Shammais allowed for it. The G-R world did not practice polygamy and the Hillels took that position. It appears that Jesus took the side of the Hillel Pharisees on this argument. In his book and writings David Instone-Brewer discusses the recent findings in the Dead Sea Scrolls of Qumran. The Essene sect may have inhabited the Qumran caves. The common scriptural argument against polygamy was Gen. 1:27, 2:24, and Lev 18:18. Jesus quotes Gen. 1:27 and 2:24 in Mt 19:4-5. Another blogger does more justice to I-B's exegesis.

It appears that Jesus rebukes the Shammais for polygamy in Mt. 19:4-5 before agreeing with their exegesis for 'indecency' in Dt 24:1 in Mt 19:8-9.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Many who read Matthew 19 miss the whole point of Jesus' presentation. The Point of Matthew 19 was to emphasize the permanency of marriage, that not even divorce can disolve. Basically Jesus pointed out that what a person do while divorced is the same as when married, the divorce certificate means absolutely nothing because "What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." So Jesus actually disproved the Hillel sect who felt that it is wrong to have more than one wife at the same time but if one divorce one he can then marry another. Jesus pointed out that if they say a person is commiting adultry by having multiple wives at the same time, I say to you that if you divorce one except on account of polyandry and marry another, you're still commiting adultery.