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Divorce and Remarriage in the Bible: The Social and Literary Context Paperback – June 7, 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 367 pages
  • Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. (June 7, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802849431
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802849434
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #455,409 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Very detailed, well researched book.
IM_BMW
Divorce and Remarriage in the Bible by Dr. Instone-Brewer is an excellent help in looking at the issue of divorce and remarriage in the Christian church today.
G. Gilbert
I greatly enjoyed reading the book twice.
Kin Hylton

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

82 of 90 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Rives on March 1, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Perhaps best to see how the author treats the subject is to read his conclusion (which comes after a CAREFUL reading of Paul and Jesus in their original contexts):
"The message of the NT is that divorce is allowed but should be avoided whenever possible. Divorce is allowed only on the grounds of broken marriage vows [including lack of love, food, or proper material care], and the decisions to divorce can be made only by the injured party. A believer should never break the marriage vows, and should try to forgive a repentant partner who has done so. If divorce does happen, remarriage is permitted. All this would be obvious to a 1st-century Jew, but the meaning of the text was obscured at a very early date due to ignorance about Jewish background after 70 C.E. Modern Church practice can be easily adapted to this insight because our marriage services still preserve the four biblical grounds for divorce in the marriage vows.
The Church should now be humble and admit that a great mistake has been made. Too many generations of husbands and wives have been forced to remain with their abusing or neglectful partners and have not been allowed to divorce even after suffering repeated unfaithfulness. The Church should not continue in a false teaching because Church tradition should not be regarded as superior to the teaching of Jesus and Paul" p.314
I should add that the author has a high view of Scripture, he is a scholar reading the text, and not a man trying to justify divorce. Furthermore, this book is recommended reading in conservative seminaries, so one should not look at this as a liberal attempt to undermine marriage. This book is Biblical (though none will agree with all of its interpretations) and accessible.
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49 of 52 people found the following review helpful By G. Gilbert on May 6, 2003
Format: Paperback
Divorce and Remarriage in the Bible by Dr. Instone-Brewer is an excellent help in looking at the issue of divorce and remarriage in the Christian church today. Having consulted many resources on this important topic, I have found this book to be the single most helpful and affirming book to bring together all I've learned about the issue.
There will of course be skepticism as with any book on a controversial subject, and people might question the hermeneutical system behind seeking the authorial intent; but in my opinion, this book is dead on in its analysis of the situation, and honestly seeks the truth. If you're unsure about buying the book, feel free to read as much of it as you like for free online before purchasing; the author has made not only this book, but also the other two versions of the book available... read it for yourself.
The author's main conclusions are that any break in the marriage vows is a grounds for divorce; however, Jesus and Paul, while both affirming this, don't recommend divorce, and say to always forgive someone who's broken the marriage vows as long as they're repentant. When a divorce does occur for valid grounds, the innocent party is free to remarry whoever they will (only in the Lord).
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31 of 38 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 5, 2003
Format: Paperback
Incredible book, breaks down the history and context quite well. To understand the meaning of the bibles discussions one must really strive to hear the words of a 1st century reader. Particuarlly on matters of law. In spirit the message is clear, marriage is sacred. But because of sin it often fails.
The problem begins when modern pharasees start making law out of what is supposed to be a positive message. If your going to make law from scripture you better understand the history of what your talking about. The author says there are quite a few reasons for a divorce, though all can be repented of and the marriage can survive any of them. The innocent party is then free to marry, such as the one left for another, deserted, cruelty,etc. He makes allowances also for the 'guilty' party. Repentence is possible. He cautions against remarriage of a person to a person who caused the end of a marriage.
It is very complete although truthfully had he delved into the misunderstanding surrounding 'put away' and legal divorce it would have been a nice section. This simple misunderstanding and misstranslation have shackled many divorced christians. All christians should have the right to a fresh start. Jesus absorbed all of our sins. Some legalistic christians make a mockery of Gods grace, by continuing to cause suffering to our brethren post divorce.
This book shows these texts have been missread for to long, the church's teaching off base, and their is hope for everyone involved in this sin, a new start, a chance to do it correctly.
With this book being required reading in seminary now, there is hope for the future.
Praise God.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Anonymous on January 4, 2006
Format: Paperback
Everyone has been touched at some level by divorce, haven't they? And everyone has strong opinions about what the Bible's teaching, don't they? Over-wrought emotions and ill-formed opinions have no place in David Instone-Brewer's epic study. He offers readers a sensitive and sensible scholarly study that more than delivers on its promise to place the Bible's view of divorce and remarriage in its social and literary context.

Instone-Brewer's definitive work should serve scholars and students as a template of biblical study at its finest. Regretfully, many pursue but few attain the fluid mastery of linguistics, history, and literature (Biblical, Rabbinic, and patristic) that this author achieves. He begins with the ancient Near Eastern cultural context, and proceeds to discuss divorce and remarriage in the Pentateuch, Prophets, Inter-testamental period, Jesus, Paul, Church Fathers, Reformers, and marriage vows. His concluding pastoral advice is brief, to the point, and practical. Instone-Brewer presents alternative views before dispassionately evaluating their strengths and weaknesses. His carefully reasoned positions require consideration. Methodically he builds a compelling case that the Bible's consistent position is that divorce is an unfortunate consequence of a fallen world and is allowed for adultery, abandonment, and neglect. He develops this using a literal-grammatical-historical hermeneutic within a framework that highly regards the authority of the Bible. Each passage touching on divorce or remarriage receives an exegetical treatment that accounts for the lexical, grammatical, and historical features of the text.
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