Re: Matthew 19:9

From: Steven Craig Miller (
Date: Fri Oct 15 1999 - 17:00:15 EDT

<x-flowed>To: Maurice A. O'Sullivan,

SCM: << The basic meaning of PORNEIA is "prostitution." It seems to be used
here (and elsewhere in the NT) as an abusive metaphor, somewhat similar to
referring to a woman as a "whore." >>

MAO: << Harrington suggests otherwise: [ Harrington, Daniel J. The Gospel
of Matthew. Sacra Pagina 1. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1991.] Hw
writes on p.273-4: " The term PORNEIA may refer to: (1) sexual misconduct
on the woman's part or (2) marriage within the degree of kinship forbiden
by Lv. 18:6-18" However, there is an extensive treatment of this and
related topics in an article included in both the first and second editions
of: Fitzmyer, Joseph A. To Advance the Gospel: New Testament Studies.
Second edition. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998. (article "The Matthean
Divorce Texts and Some New Palestinian Evidence" pp.79-111 ) >>

The first definition which Liddell-Scott-Jones-McKenzie gives for PORNEIA
is "prostitution." And the first definition which
Bauer-Arndt-Gringrinch-Danker gives for PORNEIA is also "prostituation."

It also seems to me that you have misunderstood Daniel J. Harrington [1991]
here. There is nothing in that quotation which might suggests that the
basic meaning of PORNEIA is not prostitution.

And as for Fitzmyer, it appears you didn't read him too carefully, since he
supports my point. Fitzmyer [1981:88] writes:

<< Etymologically, it [PORNEIA] means "prostitution, harlotry, whoredom,"
being an abstract noun related to 'porne,' 'harlot,' and to the verb
'porneuein,' "to act as a harlot." >>

-Steven Craig Miller
Alton, Illinois (USA)

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