Re: Mt 19:9

Date: Wed May 12 1999 - 17:41:47 EDT

In a message dated 5/12/99 3:27:02 PM, writes:

<< Please note the following:


Wenham in his "Jesus and Divorce" states:

        "Prepositional phrases are adverbial and normally
        qualify the verb which they follow."

Thus, his conclusion is that MH EPI PORNEIA modifies "divorce"
but not "marries another". His conclusion, then, is that Jesus'
statement is not allowing for remarriage (to someone else) even
if the cause for the divorce is adultery.

Also, Donald Hagner in his Word Biblical Commentary on Matthew,

        "Thus divorce is not allowed, except in special cases,
        and remarriage after divorce is similarly ruled out (see
        Dupont, Heth, Quesnell, Wenham [ JSNT 28 (1986) 17-
        23 ]. ... Exegetically, Wenham is more convincing on
        this passage."

William Heth in "Another Look At The Erasmian View Of Divorce
And Remarriage", JETS Sept '82(?) quotes Wenham:

        "Had the clause comes after "marries another", it would
        have expressly sanctioned remarriage; while placed
        before "puts away" it would have made separation
        mandatory for unchastity." -p271

as a conclusion to:

        "Prepositional phrases are adverbial in nature and
        normally follow the unit they qualify."

1) What is the normal syntax for a phrase like MH EPI PORNEIA?

2) Are there other examples which might be noted?

Thank you for your help.

Zerwick, Biblical Greek, ¤442 (pp. 148-49) has an interesting note on this
passage. "In this passage, however, MH not only may but should mean
"exccept," not that MH = "except" is of itself admissible, but because MH is
here dependent upon the introductory hOS AN which is equivalent to EAN TIS
("whoever = if anyone dismiss his wife MH EPI PORNEIA·") and thus we have
(EAN) MH ="unless,"i.e., "except." Both expressions therefore, lay down the
same true exception; as for the interpretation of the exception cf. Verb.
Dom. 38 (1960), 193-212."

This understanding would essentially make the statement a complex conditional
with perhaps the following understanding: if anyone divorces his wife, if he
does not divorce her because of immorality, and marries another, he commits
adultery. Thus the MH EPI PORNEIA clause would simply modify APOLUSHi. This
does not really resolve the exegetical issue. The question is does it invite
the inference "if he divoioreces his wife because of immorality, and then
marries another, does he commit adultery.

Charles Powell

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