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Household Rules at Ephesus: Good News, Bad News, no News

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on what the author of Ephesians has done to the rules for spousal behavior. The husbands' rule seems to stand on its own but more likely shares the backing of community standards with the first rule. To support the admonitions to husbands and wives, the author of Ephesians also adds a quotation of Genesis 2:24 LXX at 5:31. In the Rabbinic texts, very little is made of Gen 2:24 with respect to the binding character of the marital union. Mark 10:1-12 (Matt 19:1-9) narrates Jesus' handling of the question of the legitimacy of divorce. The author of Ephesians, however, shows some independence from Graeco-Roman ethics. The letter to Titus most clearly puts Jewish teachers at a distance. The contemporary critique of the household rules in these letters is, not news, in that it does not present a consistently accurate interpretation of the texts adduced in the argument.

Keywords: divorce; Ephesians; Genesis 2:24; household rules; Jesus; Jewish teachers; spousal behavior



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