Re: divorce and remarriage

Re:  Jim Hill's question about John Edwards:
The form moixeuqe/nai ("forces her into adultery,") is an aorist
passive infinitive (only at Matt 5:32 in the NT).  It is
generally translated as a verb which indicates the woman's
action, "makes her commit adultery" (KJV, NASV, TEV, and others),
or as a verb which indicates her subsequent status, "makes her an
adulteress" (RSV, NRSV, ASV, and ERV).  The NIV translates
"causes her to become an adulteress."  R. C. H. Lenski, The
Interpretation of Matthew's Gospel (Minneapolis:  Augsburg,
1961), 232-35, objects to this practice, energetically arguing
that it should rather be translated as "has been adulterated,"
exculpating the wife of any wrong doing (cf., NEB:  "involves her
in adultery").  He further notes that, "No attempt is made to
prove that the passive forms of this verb have same sense as the
active."  He is followed in this by Edwards, An In Depth Study,
123-131, who also cites S. Zodhiates, What About Divorce?
(Chattanooga:  A. M. G.), 130-34.  Unfortunately, Zodhiates gives
grossly inaccurate information about the occurrences of the
passive forms of moixeu/w in the NT, and Lenski's charge is at
least outdated.  BAG 526 notes numerous instances in which the
passive form is common in reference to the adulteress, the one
"with whom" adultery is committed.  Among other examples see
Sirach 23:23; Philo, Decalogue 124; and Josephus, Antiquities
7:131.  In addition to these, see Lev. 20:10 and Jn. 8:4.  As to
the last reference, how would one understand the phrase, "this
woman has been caught in the very act of being adulterated"?
Surely, the problem has been stated correctly by Davies/Allison,
Matthew, 528-29:  "The unstated assumption is that the woman will
remarry."  This point is very important, inasmuch as (1) the
husband is blamed for putting his wife in that situation;  (2) a
life of "remaining single" after divorce was not considered, at
least not in this text;  and (3) the point is not "divorce is
allowed, but remarriage is adultery," the point is that divorce
in the first place results in adultery.
     Divorce is clearly presented in these Gospel texts as being
against the desire of God.  Therefore, any effort to
casuistically "authorize" divorce is ludicrous.  The current
tendency of distinguishing divorce and remarriage, as if they
were individual and separate acts, is not the assumption of these
Gospel divorce texts.  Divorce and remarriage were inseparably
related.  In fact, the assumption of Deuteronomy 24 was that
divorce would be followed by remarriage.
Gary D. Collier
University of Denver/Iliff School of Theology