Re: EI EXESTIN (Mt 19:3)

From: Steven Craig Miller (
Date: Sun Oct 17 1999 - 17:13:12 EDT

<x-flowed>To: Jeffrey B. Gibson,

<< EI EXESTIN does indeed mean "is it allowed by Moses/Torah?" (a modern
equivalent would be "is it constitutional"). But ... the phrase was also
used to mean "Is it **in your opinion** seemly" >>

In passing, one might note that the phrase "is it constitutional" does not
necessarily mean that a particular case is mentioned in the constitution,
rather it often refers to the rulings of the Supreme Court.

What do you mean by "seemly"?

I can see where EI EXESTIN could be translated as "is it lawful" (as the
NRSV does) or as "is it allowed [by you]." But since the question "is it
lawful" seems to be a question of jurisprudence, I'm not for sure that
there is much difference between "is it lawful" and "is it allowed [by
you]." Are you wanting to suggest something different here with "is
it **in your opinion** seemly"?

-Steven Craig Miller
Alton, Illinois (USA)

 From Luther's Large Catechism: "Why, do you think, is the world now so
full of unfaithfulness, shame, misery, and murder? It is because everyone
wishes to be his or her own master, be free from all authority, care
nothing for anyone, and do whatever he or she pleases. So God punishes one
knave by means of another" (BoC 386.154).

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