Re: Matt 19:9

Date: Sun Oct 03 1999 - 19:51:41 EDT

The question is, did the early church fathers understand the
MH EPI PORNEIA of Mt 19:9 as denoting preterition (as excluding
from consideration the case of PORNEIA) or as denoting the
negation, that is, if a man divorced his wife because of PORNEIA,
and remarried, then he did not commit adultery in so doing?

I don't see anything in the translations cited below that suggests
anything other than the preterition view.

Paul Dixon


> The referances are listed in Chronological order.
> Shepard of Hermas Book Two Commandment Four
> "And I said to him "What then sir is the husband to do, if his wife
> continues the vicious practices?" And he said, the husband should
> put her
> away and remain by himself. but if he put his wife away and marry
> another
> he commits adultery."
> Athenagoras of Alexandria A Plea for Christians Chapter 33
> "be content with one marriage; for a second marriage is only
> specious
> adultery. 'For whosoever puts away his wife,' says he, 'and marries
> another
> commits adultery.' Not permitting a man to send her away whose
> virginity he
> has brought to an end, nor marry again."
> Clement of Alexandria Stormanta Chapter 23
> "'He that takes a woman that has been put away' it is said, 'commits
> adultery; and if one puts his wife away he makes her an adultress.'
> That
> is, compels her to commit adultery."
> Tertullian, Of Patience Chapter 12
> (Patience is personified as a woman)
> "When on a disjunction of wedlock (for that cause, I mean, which
> makes it
> lawful, whether for husband or wife, to persist in the observance of
> widowhood), she (patience) waits for, she yearns for, she persuades
> by her
> entreaties, repentance in all who are one day to enter salvation?
> How great
> a blessing she confers on such! The one she prevents from becoming
> an
> adulterer; the other she amends."
> Augustine, The Good of Marriage, Paragraph 3
> "Therfore, concerning the good of marriage, which the Lord also
> confirmed in
> the Gospel, not only in that He forbade to put away a wife, save
> because of
> fornication, ubt also in that He came by invitation to a marriage,
> there is
> good ground to inquire for what reason it be a good."
> Augustine, Of Holy Virginity, Paragraph 15
> "For it is not lawful to put away a wife, save because of
> fornication, as
> the Lord Himself saith in the Gospel. But that, which he added,
> 'Thou art
> loosed from a wife, seek not a wife,' is a sentence of counsel, not
> of
> command; therfore it is lawful to do, but it is better not to do."
> Augustine, Reply to Faustus the Manichaean, Book 19 Paragraph 29
> "For when the Jews relplied, 'Why did Moses then command to give a
> writing
> of divorcement, and to put her away?' Christ said unto them,
> 'Mosese,
> because of your heart, suffered you to put away your wives.' The
> hardness
> must have been great indeed which could not be induced to admit the
> restoration of wedded love, even though by means of writing an
> opportunity
> was afforded for advice to be given to this effect by wise and
> upright men."
> Augustine, Sermon on the Mount, Chapter 14
> "'But I say unto you, that whosoever shall put away his wife, saving
> for the
> cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever
> shall
> marry her that is loosed from her husband committeth adultery.'"
> Augustine, On the Gospel of John, Tractate IX Chapter 2
> "And they that are well instructed in the catholic faith know that
> God
> instituted marriage; and as the union of man and wife is from God,
> so
> divorce is from the devil. But in the case of fornication it is
> lawful for
> a man to put away his wife, because she first chose to be no longer
> wife in
> not preserving conjugal fidelity to her husband."
> Chrysostom, The Gospel of Matthew, Homily 17, section 4
> "And not thus only, but in another way also He hath lightened the
> senactment: forasmuch as even for himHe leaves on manner of
> dismissal, when
> He saith, 'Except for the cause of fornication;' since the matter
> had else
> come round again to the same issue. For if He had commanded to keep
> her in
> the house, thogh defiling herself with many, He would have made the
> matter
> end again in adultery."
> Chrysostom, Homilies on First Corinthians, Homily 19
> "Because it is a law expressly appointed by Christ which he is about
> to read
> to them about the 'not putting away a wife without fornication;'
> therefore
> he says, 'not I.' True it is what was before spoken though it were
> not
> expressly stated, yet it also is his decree."
> Jerome, Letter 77 to Oceanus, Paragraph 3
> "So terrible then were the faults imputed to her former husband that
> not
> even a prostitute or a common slave could have put up with them. If
> I were
> to recount them, I should undo the heroism of the wife who chose to
> bear the
> blame of a separation rather than to blacken the character and
> expose the
> stains of him who was one body with her. I will only urge this one
> plea
> which is sufficient to exonerate a chaste matron and a Christian
> woman. The
> Lord has given commandment that a wife must not be put away'except
> it be for
> fornication, and that, if put away, she must remain unmarried.' Now
> a
> commandment which is given to men logically applies to women also."
> Basil, Letter 188 to Amhilochius, concerning the Canons.
> "The sentence of the Lord that it is unlawful to withdraw from
> wedlock, save
> on account of fornication, applies, according to the argument, to
> men and
> women alike. Custom, however, does not so obtain."
> Basil, The Canons of Basil, Canon IX
> "Our Lord is equal, to the man and woman forbiding divorce, save in
> case of
> fornication; but custom requires women to retain their husbands,
> though they
> be guilty of fornication. The man deserted by his wife may take
> another,
> and though he were deserted for adultery, yet St. Basil will be
> positive,
> that the other woman who afterward takes him is guilty of adultery;
> but the
> wife is not allowed this liberty. And the man who deserts an
> innocent wife
> is not allowed to marry."
> First Nicean Council, Canon 51
> "Bishops shall not allow the separation of a wife from her husband
> on
> account of discord."
> Canon 66
> "If any priest or deacon shall put away his wife on account of her
> fornication, or for other cause as aforesaid, ....let him be
> deposed."
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