Re: porneia

Date: Mon Oct 18 1999 - 12:24:40 EDT


Since Carl has asked that we terminate the lengthy discussion on
this, I would encourage you to read the previous posts. This has
been answered in those posts.

If you can't find them, email me privately.

Paul Dixon

On Mon, 18 Oct 1999 11:09:02 -0500 "Bob Wilkin" <>
> This is my first reply to a post, so I'm not sure how to format it.
> My remarks are first. That which I am responding to follows.
> If porneia "cannot be adultery or prostitution," then what can it be
> in the case of a married person whose marriage had been consummated?
> And why did the Lord use porneia in this context in such a confined
> meaning? Does not porneia typically include all sexual sin (e.g.,
> 1 Cor 5:1; Acts 15:29)? Why not use moicheia here if adultery were
> the only possibility. Indeed, if only a special type of adultery,
> before marriage is consummated, is meant, why is this not explained
> when the question asked is clearly not dealing with divorce before a
> marriage was consummated?
> Porneia occurs once in Matthew besides the two exception clauses, in
> 15:19. There it is preceded by moicheia, clearly distinguishing the
> two. What does porneia mean there? Shouldn't we give careful
> consideration to its meaning in 15:19 in forming our view of its
> meaning in 5:32 and 19:9?
> Bob Wilkin
> Grace Evangelical School of Theology
> Subject: Re: porneia
> From:
> Date: Sat, 16 Oct 1999 22:58:18 -0700
> X-Message-Number: 3
> On Sat, 16 Oct 1999 21:15:58 -0700 "Michael Abernathy"
> <> writes:
> > Paul Dixon said porneia "cannot be adultery or prostitution, since
> > the lawful punishment for such is death by stoning." You might
> want
> > to reconsider this argument. There is substantial evidence that
> > during the New Testament period divorce, not stoning, was the
> usual
> > consequence of adultery (See. Markus Bockmuehl's article "Matthew
> > 5.32; 19.9 in the Light of Pre-Rabinnic Halakhah" New Testament
> > Studies vol. 35, 1989, pp. 291-295). Also consider Joseph's
> planned
> > divorce of Mary upon finding that she was pregnant.
> It may be the case that divorce, not stoning, was the usual
> consequence
> of adultery during the NT period, but that is irrelevant. The
> question
> raised
> by the Pharisees was, is it lawful (EI EZESTIN, Mt 19:3)? NT
> practice
> has no bearing upon it.
> Nor does Joseph's plan to put Mary away (APOLUSAI, Mt 1:19) have any
> bearing upon this, even if he was a DIKAIOS ANHR. The fact that he
> was a righteous man is better explained by his desire not to make
> a public spectacle of her (MH QELWN ANTHN DEIGMATISAI), rather
> than as a commentary that his behavior was lawful.
> But, even if his behavior is lawful, we still have the case of a man
> who
> is engaged to be married, and not yet lawfully married. There has
> been no consummation. Is this not an altogether different ballgame?
> Someone asks about Jn 7:53-8:11 and the woman taken in adultery.
> This was another setup. The Pharisees wanted to trap Jesus. Their
> thinking, of course, was that she should be stoned to death in line
> with the OT law. They said, "Now Moses in the law commanded that
> such should be stoned. But what do you say?" (8:5).
> His answer is not to deny the law, but to show their failure to
> uphold
> the law in the execution of it. "He who is without sin among you,
> let
> him throw a stone at her first" (v. 7). This comes from Deut 13:9;
> 17:7.
> His forgiveness of the woman, of course, is exemplary. He, like
> Joseph,
> was merciful, and we ought to be. If a man's wife commits adultery
> today,
> he ought to be merciful and willing to forgive her. But, again,
> this is
> not the
> question. The question is not, should we be merciful. It is:
> according
> to
> the OT, is it lawful for a man to put away his wife because of
> adultery?
> The answer, according to the law, is that she should be stoned to
> death for adultery. There is no apparent provision for divorce for
> adultery, and if there were there would appear to be contradiction
> within the law.
> Paul Dixon

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