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"Holier Than Thou"? Marriage And Divorce In The Scrolls, The New Testament And Early Rabbinic Sources

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Chapter Summary

Marriage and divorce are weakly institutionalised in the Hebrew Bible; indeed it is difficult to speak of them as "legal" institutions before the religiously motivated reforms of Ezra. Nothing is said in the laws about the mode of creation of marriage, and Deut. 24:1-4, which mentions incidentally procedures and criteria for divorce, is primarily concerned with the problem of resumption of initial marital relationship - whether for economic or religious reasons. The New Testament texts may both contribute to our understanding of Jewish development and themselves be illuminated by being placed in the context of the institutionalisation of marriage and divorce. This chapter explores the role of both theological and social factors in this institutionalisation. It provides an overview of the issues arising from the New Testament, Rabbinic sources and Qumran texts, then seek to interpret them in context of the issues of theology, social identity and institutionalisation which they raise.

Keywords: divorce; Hebrew Bible; marriage; New Testament; Qumran texts; Rabbinic Sources; scrolls; social identity



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