Lectionary Year B
October 5, 2003
Mark 10:2-16

Step IV: Cross-Section

A. Primitive Christianity

(JFC) Synoptic parallels are in Matthew 19:1-16 and Luke 16:18 might be an abbreviated saying, re: divorce, remarriage and adultery, while Luke 18:15-17 is for the blessing of the children. See also Matthew 5:32, where Jesus states the only just cause for divorce is unchastity (NRSV word). I Corinthians 7:10f forbids either the wife or the husband to divorce their spouse and in 7:27 we read where marriage is permanent if it is current and inadvisable if it is not. Jesus and the disciples have some times out apart from the crowds and in private homes in Mark 4:10-12 and7:17-23. Hebrews 13:4 states that marriage is to be held in honor by all. Jesus uses children as visual aides in teaching about matters of the kingdom in Matthew 18:1-6 and John 3:1-10. Jesus seems to expand and/or enlarge on the Old Testament Law in Matthew 5:21-48, the egw de legw sayings.

B. Old Testament and Judaism

(JFC) Deuteronomy 24:1-4 stipulates that husbands of old could divorce their wife/wives with a written document stating the reason(s) for the divorce. Genesis 1:27 and 5:2 seem to indicate God created male and female, in the context of their meeting each other's human needs. See Genesis 2:24, stating the background for our text's 8th and 9th verses. The 7th Commandment (Ex. 20:14 and Dt. 5:18) forbids adultery. "Early Judaism (e.g. Jub. 3:7) knows God as the founder of marriage", according to Boring, Berger and Colpe's Hellenistic Commentary to the New Testament.

C. Hellenistic World

(JFC) From the second to the first century BCE's Damascus Rule, we read that monogamy is the rule, based on Genesis 1:2 and Deuteronomy 17:17. Then, from 30-100 CE, we get a note form Musonius Rufus, Is Marriage a Handicap for the Pursuit of Philosophy? which states that "the estate of marriage" is "great and worthy", for it "is plain from this also, that gods watch over it, great gods, too, in the estimation of men; first Hera (and for this reason we address her as the patroness of wedlock), then Eros, then Aphrodite, for we assume that all of these perform the function of bringing together man and woman for the procreation of children. (Lutz)". Also, Regina Inscription (ca. 100 CE) believes a deceased Regina will live a resurrected eternity because she lived "as a model wife in a marriage . . . devoted to making this a praiseworthy marriage" of 21 + years. She also practiced "the true religion, a chaste life, love for people, and obedience to the Law." Marriage was of high value for these rather elite Greek thinkers.

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