Re: Matthew 19:9, mng of PORNEIA

Date: Sat Oct 16 1999 - 13:06:18 EDT

On Sat, 16 Oct 1999 11:07:26 -0500 Steven Craig Miller
<> writes:


> You seem to have misunderstood what I have written, perhaps I wasn't as

> clear as I should have been. My suggestion is that PORNEIA is being
> here as an ABUSIVE METAPHOR. Like all metaphors, it does NOT MEAN its
> primary referent, but rather it MEANS something else! When you write:
> While PORNEIA can mean or include prostitution, its meaning here can
> hardly be that >> I concur with you completely! The translation: << I
> to you: whoever divorces his woman (except for divorcing whores) and
> marries another lives in adultery >> does not mean to suggest that the
> "whore" acctually received money for sex, merely that her infidelity
> viewed as making her a "whore."

The problem is your abusive metaphor seems to communicate the
very least the idea of adultery (infidelity, as you say). If so, then
still have to deal with the problem I raised.

Would you say, then, that the wife who has committed such infidelity/
adultery could be lawfully divorced? If so, how would that comport with
the law which stipulates she should be stoned to death?

This is exactly where the Pharisees would have had Jesus. They
assumed the law was non-contradictory and they approached Jesus
repeatedly with questions assuming such law of non-contradiction
within the law. The law does command death for adultery. It does
not elsewhere command non-death, but divorce for the same offense.
This is why PORNEIA here must be interpreted in light of the preceding
verses and ultimately in light of Deut 24:1ff. It is apparently an
uncleanness, indecency (literally, nakedness of some sort) falling
short of adultery.

Paul Dixon

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