Re: 1 Corinthians 7:27,28

Date: Sun Aug 09 1998 - 21:08:34 EDT

 Steve Amato writes:
>In summary: In Scripture, a broken marriage is always wrong, always
>contrary to God's perfect will (and there are no exceptions to this); but
>the sin of a broken marriage, like any other sin, is forgivable. Moreover,
>there are no prohibitions upon remarriage after divorce: Paul expressly
>says that such remarriage is not a sin (1 Cor 7:28) and commands it when
>the person who is now AGAMOS sees that he/she does not have the gift of
>chastity and continence (1 Cor 7:9).

>>Doesn't interpreting it that way nullify any application to:
Mark 10:11 He answered, "Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another
woman commits adultery against her.
12 And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits
Since, as you say, such remarriage is not sin?<<

Dear Steve,

Christopher Rowland, in "Christian Origins" (p. 143) cites Mark 10:11 as a
example of an outright "legal or halakic statement in the Jesus tradition."
Because we are dealing with a legal text here in the framework of a Pharisaic
debate, does it not deserve a legalistic reading? The term Jesus uses for
in the adulterous sense is APOLUW, lit. "send away." APOLUW, however, is only
half of the legal term for divorce the Pharisees used in their question. In
4, they define Mosaic divorce as APOLUW + GRAFW BIBLION APOSTASIOU. Moses,
Pharisees are saying, laid down a two-step divorce process. Step one is
away" the wife (APOLUW) but step two is filing for the requisite papers (a
certificate of divorce).

Pursuing such a reading, we see that Jesus in 10:11 is not condemning those
have followed the official two-step divorce process, but simply those who fail
adhere to the Mosaic statute. This is not much different from the legal
today, by which a bigamist is defined as someone with 2 marriage certificates
no BIBLION APOSTASIOU. What is often read as a global condemnation of divorce
(and all divorcees) is, if we give the passage the halakic reading it is due,
appeal to follow proper procedures when the human tragedy of divorce becomes
necessary. This also answers the original question posted by Lemuel on 5

Tom Bivins
Orlando, Florida


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