posted on Nov, 10 2004 @ 05:44 PM
Of course the word "sin" is a cultic term and more of a matter of geography than morality or ethics ("the tribe up the hill believes it's a sin
according to THEIR god to be circumcised...the tribe in the valley according to the priests of THEIR god thinks its a sin NOT to be circumcised"
R. Yehoshua bar Yosef the Galilean ("Jesus") taught his followers (apparently) that there would be NO DIVORCE, EVER.
(This uncomfortable and highly inconvenient fact has been a thorn in the side of "Christians" long before Henry VIII's time...!)
In this respect R. Yehoshua bar Yosef ("jesus") evidently sided in with R. Shammai (c. BC 60 to AD 10) who was rather stricter on interpreting such
hallakhot (lit. "walkings" i.e. obeying the Torah of the god of the Jews)
Normally judging from the teaching of "Jesus" that we find sort of echoed in the Gospels (or at least the Greek words placed into his mouth in the
Gospels...) he tends to side in more with R. Hillel "the great" (from Shammai's time) who tended to adopt a more lenient stance on Torot
halakhot...but on the subject of Divorce, he suddenly turns into a "real stickler"...
Why is that?
R. Yehoshua's stance on divorce is not fully known exactly---we were not there with a video camera and batteries----and what we read in the gospels
(and in Paul's references) was something hard to translate exactly into modern English from 1st century Greek (since the WRITTEN Greek is itself a
very rough translation from the originally ORAL Galilean Aramaic) but would have probably sounded something like:
"And his disciples asked him, Rabbi, tell us of your stance on Divorce and Remarriage:
And he said to them, "Amen Amen I say unto you, If a man divorces his wife and marries another, he is guilty of Adultery:
(cf:"Lo Tinef", one of the so-called "Ten Commandments").
His disciples then are said to have asked him:
"But Rabbi, didn't Moses give a law in the Torah allowing Certificates of Divorce?"
And to this he was said to have replied,
"You have answered well in saying Moses permitted Certificates of Divorce: but it was because of the hardness of heart of the sons of men that Moses
made this accomodation for them in ancient times:
But from the Book of Creation it was not so:
For in the Scroll of Bere#h is it not written,
'Male and Female created he them...?" and also
'For this reason a man shall leave his mother and father and cleave to his wife?'
Therefore what [the Most High] has brought together, let no son of man rend apart."
Then (it is said) one of his disciples asked,
"But, Rabbi, what about all those men who are divorced already?" to which the teacher was purported to have said (somewhat curtly): "in those
cases, let the woman be reconciled with her husband."
This seems to suggest that this much stronger stance-than-normal against Divorce was part of a very primitive teaching tradition of "Jesus" that the
early church just couldn't explain away, despite Matthew's attempt at finding convenient loopholes....even Paul seems to have said that his stance
was "not from me, but from the Lord himself...." so it seems to have been ingrained in the earliest churches from the beginning.
It has every reason to be considered "part of the original teaching" simply because of its sheer difficulty (since it made everybody's life harder
not easier, it would not have been made up, in other words).
Matthew's gospel (for what ever reason) does try to sweeten the bitter pill of Jesus and happily adds an addtional phrase in Greek (not found in the
other gospels) which would be roughly translated as :
"except for the cause of Fornication"
a phrase which may well be the writer of Matthew's own "fake scribal addition" to a shorter and stricter saying of "Jesus" which totally forbade
divorce altogether without such exceptions.
Or perhaps, "Jesus" softened his rhetoric on the subject by adding this phrase (i.e. changed his mind) as time went on and found his original stance
The writer of Mark's gospel (whoever he was, since the gospels circulated without titles or names for 250 years) has his own problematic version of
this saying, where most copies of his gospel add a whole mirror-phrase forbidding women to divorce their husbands---a legal act which Roman women
could do, but which Palestinian Jewesses could not do----which shows just how far his originally strict "no divorce law" was contorted to meet the
needs of the local community after the crucifixion...
Matthew's additional phrase ("except for the legal cause of fornication" Gk: porneirea) seems to be a crude translation of the Aramaic "Nivlah"
[Nevalah in Hebrew] = "shameful behaviour")
Even though the term can be traced back to a Hebrew and Aramaic technical term, this whole "exception" business was probably not original to
"Iesous" but was a later "practical" adaptation for the Jewish Chrisitian community in Antioch where Matthew's gospel was being read in the
"churches" among Jewish Messianic Christians, who just couldn't live with the stricter interpretation from the lips of the teacher himself.
At any rate, the word for "fornication" is a rather hard term to understand today clearly.
It could be translated as "unchastity" in Enlgish i.e. if a woman cannot spill blood on her wedding night onto the ceremonial "blood sheet" which
was preserved later by her parents in case charges against her virginity should ever be raised by the husband. In other words, it could be loosely
translated as "pre-marital sex", although Nivlah could mean "sexual peversion" (meaning, something like the modern "if she turns out to be a
lesbian....") since the word has various shades of meaning....and we were not there with a video camera examining the tone in which such
pronouncments were made by this man in the original Galilean Aramaic.
This whole subject of pre-marital sex was obviously a subject a little too close for comfort for "Jesus" in view of the scandal associated with his
birth-circumstances---a sore subject which which apparently had been cast into his teeth by Judaean authorities during his own lifetime (cf: the story
in John's gospel: "WE (intensive HUMEIS in Greek) were not born of Porneria (fornication), WE have one Father !!" in John's gospel)...or in
Mark's gospel "is this not Mary's son?" with ne'er a mention of daddy Joseph.
There were other Jewish polemics against Christians by Rabinnic Pharisees in the AD 40s and 50s who taunted Christians for believing in a "the son of
a lie" or "Mamzer" (lit. "bastard") e.g. "your heretical teacher had as just a wicked end as he had a wicked beginning" and other such
But the bottom line is that for whatever reason R. Yehoshua (normally lax when it came to the stricter interpretation of Torah hallahot) felt the need
to say NO DIVORCE EVER. PERIOD, echoing Malachi's strong statement "iin the last days" e.g. "Thus saith YHWH the god of Israel: I HATE
But few people take "Jesus" literally, so I suppose it doesn't really matter what he said or even thought on the subject....people are going to
find away around it one way or another
Can you say, "Annulment"? Can you say, "Papal Dispensation"?
[edit on 10-11-2004 by Amadeus]