Re: The termination of Paul's marriage? (Was: 1 Corinthians 7:27-28)

From: Phillip J. Long (
Date: Mon Aug 31 1998 - 14:18:11 EDT

On Sat, 29 Aug 1998 13:07:12 +1000, you wrote:

>It is possible that Paul had been divorced: F F Bruce (1 and 2 Corinthians,
>p. 68) says, "His wife may have left him and returned to her family because
>of his conversion to Christianity." Certainly, the kind of wife to whom
>such a person as Paul would have been wedded, with his strict Pharisee
>family background and his zeal for Judaism, would have found his conversion
>difficult to take: in Phil 3:4-8 Paul refers to his old life in Judaism
>before his conversion, and adds, "... Christ my Lord, for whose sake I have
>lost all things" - which may have included his wife (cf. Luke 14:26; 18:29).

While I agree with F. F. Bruce (and have taught the same thing), I
wonder if there is any evidence that a woman could divorce her husband
in 1st century Judaism, and if religious conversion was ever used as a
grounds for divorce.

It would seem that there should have been a large number of couples
where one was converted and the other was not since Paul is
addressing that issue in 1 Cor 7.

Phillip J. Long
Asst. Prof. Bible & Greek
Grace Bible College

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