From: John M. Tait (
Date: Fri Nov 27 1998 - 18:50:36 EST

Dear B-Greekers,

I have a query about the PAREKTOS clause in Mt 5:32. Before I incite
another controversy, can I make it clear that it is the syntax of this
particular clause that I am concerned about.

It appears to me that, if this clause were read as it stands, the presence
of the phrase PAREKTOS LOGOU PORNEIAS is a logical consequence of the
phrase POIEI AUTHN MOICEUQHNAI immediately following. Only Matthew includes
the latter phrase - emphasising the guilt of the divorcing husband. But
obviously the husband cannot be guilty of making the wife commit adultery
if she has already done so - hence the parenthetical "except in a case of
adultery." The meaning would therefore be "causes her to commit adultery -
except of course she has already done so." It would be a matter of simple
logic, rather than a legal exemption.

The reason I am asking about this is that I have not come across a
commentary which brings out the close connection between these two phrases,
or suggests that the PAREKTOS clause is only in Matthew because the POIEI
AUTHN MOICEUQHNAI phrase is also only in Matthew. I am of course aware of
the other explanations (Shammai, etc.) and difficulties (Mt 19:3-9, where a
similar phrase - MH EPI PORNEIA - occurs without the idea of causing the
woman to commit adultery.) I wondered, therefore, whether this is because
the other explanations are regarded as sufficient, making this approach
unnecessary; or alternatively - and this is what I'm really asking about -
whether there is some aspect of the syntax, or the usage or semantics of
PAREKTOS, of which I am unaware and which would preclude, or
counter-indicate, the interpretation which I have given above.

John M. Tait.

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