Re: Matt 19:9

From: Carlton Winbery (
Date: Sat Oct 02 1999 - 13:22:33 EDT

Paul Dixon replied;

>On Sat, 2 Oct 1999 7:47:17 "Ed Gorham" <> writes:
>> BDF cites the use of MH as a way if indicating exception. Also, EPI
>> used with the dative often has the sense of "on the basis of". Combined
>> with the negative particle, I would think that an acceptable
>> would be "not on the basis of" adultery, which is a more literal way to
>> "except for".
>MH by itself (no accompanying particle, like EI or EAN) occurs over
>500 times in the GNT. Nowhere else is it translated, "except." Only
>it is accompanied by EI or EAN is it rendered so.
>Since neither particle exists in MT 19:9, in order to get the exception
>idea some have posited an ellipsis of either EI or EAN.
>If we assume an ellipsis, however, we still make a huge leap of
>blind faith if we conclude the negation, that is, if a man divorces
>his wife and she committed PORNEIA, and he subsequently
>remarries, then he does not commit adultery himself in so doing.
>No one, to my knowledge, has ever shown that such a construction
>as found in Mt 19:9 calls for this kind of conclusion. We are better
>off going with the conclusion of the early church fathers (e.g.,
>and see this as simply a preterition where the case of the wife
>who committed PORNEIA is being excluded from discussion at
>the point. Why so, one might ask. If for no other reason than the
>fact the Christ has just discussed this case in the immediately preceding
I would agree with Paul that the case of a wife who has committed adultery
is simply excluded from this statement. That seems the most natural way to
take the reading. MH EPI PORNEIA simply that the case of PORNEIA is
excluded. A large number of scribes came to this conclusion also. In the
footnotes of N-A27 B, fam 1, Bohairic Coptic, D, Fam 13, 33, the old Latin,
Sahidic, Mid. Egyptian, plus some other mss introduced the word PAREKTOS
into the reading. Someone needs to check and see if this reading was in the
Stephanus text and the text behind the KJV. What led the KJV to read this
as Escept could have been a different text.

Dr. Carlton L. Winbery
Foggleman Professor of Religion
Louisiana College
Ph. 1 318 448 6103 hm
Ph. 1 318 487 7241 off

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