Re: PAREKTOS clause

From: John M. Tait (
Date: Mon Nov 30 1998 - 18:05:51 EST

In reply to my query about Mt 5:32, Ward wrote:

>John, in this connection you may find it of interest to check out the
>commentary of Lenski on this passage.
>And then to share with us what you think of his approach, in relation to
>the questions you ask.
Thanks, Ward. I don't have Lenski, but I'll try to beg or borrow him. I've
also downloaded everything relevant I could find from the B-Greek archives,
although I haven't got round to reading through them yet.

Although I'm not familiar with Lenski, I have consulted various other
people's comments on this passage, including T.W. Manson (Sayings of
Jesus), F.F. Bruce (The Hard Sayings of Jesus); S.S. Smalley (essay on
Redaction Criticism in New Testament Interpretation, ed. I.H. Marshall);
F.V. Filson (Black's Commentary); Grayston (TWBB); Nixon (NBC); Wright &
Thompson (NBD); J. Stott (Issues facing Christians today), etc. They are
obviously split between those who regard the exemptive clause as
historical, and those who regard it as redaction (an issue which I
obviously don't want to get into on this list), and have different
interpretations stemming from those initial assessments. Would Lenski have
an approach fundamentally different from any of these various approaches?

However, as I say, it's just one specific point I'm interested in - is
there any reason _per se_ why the Greek here should not be taken as a
logical consequence of the emphasis which the Matthean account is making,
which would then explain its inclusion by Matthew? Taking the Lucan account
as the one which has most in common with this passage (as opposed to the
similarity between Mt 19 and the Markan account - would this be another
controversial issue?) we have the following parallels:

Lk 16 PAS hO APOLUWN THN GUNAIKA AUTOU -----------------------

Mt 5 ----------------- POIEI AUTHN MOICEUQHNAI

KAI GAMWN hETERAN would obviously not have made sense in the context of the
Matthean emphasis - the husband marrying another wife would have no
relevance to his causing the first one to commit adultery - which would
explain why it isn't included here, although the phrase or its equivalent
KAI GAMHSHi ALLHN is present in all three other versions. Similarly, is it
not likely that the phrase PAREKTOS LOGOU PORNEIAS is included here because
the statement that a man, in divorcing his wife, causes her to commit
adultery would not make sense if she had already done so - a consideration
which is not relevant in Mark and Luke because of their different emphasis?

I'm aware that the presence of MH EPI PORNEIA in Mt 19 creates a certain
amount of difficulty with this explanation, unless it were regarded as
"spilling over" from Mt 5 - though I'v found a thread initiated by Paul
Dixon in the B-Greek archives on "negative inference fallacies" which I
haven't absorbed yet.

I'm sorry if I'm repeating myself - I'm just trying to make clear exactly
what I am, and what I'm not, asking. I'm inclined to think that if there
were not some strong contra-indication to this way of looking at it I would
already have come across it - but this may not necessarily be the case. The
NEB/REB translates the passage in a way which suggests this reading - "If a
man divorces his wife for any cause other than unchastity he involves her
in adultery".

John M. Tait.

B-Greek home page:
You are currently subscribed to b-greek as: []
To unsubscribe, forward this message to
To subscribe, send a message to

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:40:09 EDT