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Custom «Divorce in the Bible» Essay Paper

Custom «Divorce in the Bible» Essay Paper

Divorce is a termination of an effectual matrimony between living spouses. In general, the Bible tells that divorce is evil and stands against it. However, it does not mean that every divorce is sinful in its nature. In many places in Holy Scripture, the Lord shows us the legal grounds for divorce. This question is widely discussed in scholarly articles.

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I have reviewed and examined three different scholarly articles: “Women in the Bible” by D. Bergant and B.E. Reid, “Divorce, Jewish” by Elliot N. Dorff and “Divorce” by David L. Lieber, Ben­Zion Schereschewsky and Moshe Drori. Despite all these articles are based on the Bible, they have common and different features. These articles pay the biggest attention to the divorce in Judaism. The divorce has been permitted. It has not been considered as something good but rather as a necessary evil. In these articles, we can see that a man had all rights to divorce. Moreover, a woman was subordinate to her husband. The main cause of parting was rooted in the insipidity of the marriage. While “Women in the Bible” discusses this problem more from the historical point of view, “Divorce, Jewish” and “Divorce” examine a modern attitude to this question.

According to the academic perspectives on a historical issue in the Bible, it is clear that women played a secondary role in everyday life. A wife was dependent on a husband and sisters were subordinate to their brothers. It was a patriarchal society. Sons carried forward the family name and earned for a living. In Judaism, the divorce has been considered as something sad, but still it has been permitted since the days of the Bible. In addition, in New Testament Jesus says about such sins as adultery and lust and has a negative attitude to divorce. n ancient Israel, this process was an established custom. A Hebrew could send his wife out of his house because of his wish. In Mesopotamia, there was no detailed instruction how to divorce. A man had just to write “a bill of divorce” and give it to his wife. Therefore, in the Bible the divorce was rather oral declaration, witnessed by the writ. The similar way of divorce had Sumerians. A husband needed to pronounce, “You are not my wife” and give her some money. These three articles tell that a man has had all rights to divorce. Even a court could not dissolve spouse without the husband’s act. In the “Divorce, Jewish” it is said that only a husband could initiate a divorce. While the “Divorce” tells that, there were two cases when a husband was not allowed to divorce. The first situation was when he expressed false accusations  of his wife having premarital sexual intercourse. And the second was if he raped the virgin. On the other hand, there are no such situations in the Bible showing a man who divorces rapidly and willingly. Therefore, from the historical point of view we can see that all the power belonged to a man. Authors of articles gave examples of different historical epochs. Especially the authors of “Divorce” provide the information about divorce in ancient Israel, then they tell about later attitude to divorce, and they give some information about the 20th century and finally today’s situation. “Divorce, Jewish” provides data about ancient and modern Israel.

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In “Divorce” and “Divorce, Jewish” the political issue is also considered. But there are some inconsistencies in these two articles. Elliot N. Dorff writes, “if the man refuses to authorize a writ of divorce, the court cannot act in his stead.” And authors of “Divorce&” give many cases when divorce is completed. For example, it is said that the decision of the court depends on the existing right of a husband or wife to demand a divorce. In addition, a wife can demand a divorce in case of some physical problems of her husband that can hinder their living together. If she has no children and wishes to have them but her husband is infertile, she can divorce. The other case for a woman to demand a divorce is when her husband refuses to support her despite the fact he is in the position to do so. “Divorce, Jewish” says that the law follows the School of Hillel, and so the couple do not need to show any evidence to justify their divorce. The authors of “Divorce” write the same. They write that delivery of the get is enough to break up the marriage in the court. However, Elliot N. Dorff admits that today many Jews have adopted America's individualism and its understanding of marriage. That is why they follow their way to divorce.

The authors’ evidence is solid. There are many references to different sources. The articles have references to the gospel of Matthew, Mark, John, and Luke. What is more, there is information from the Genesis, Deuteronomy, and Mishnah. The political issues are supported by references to Jewish law. Authors of these articles based their reasoning on all these sources. That is why they are logical.

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To sum up, the problem of divorce in the Bible has been studied by scientists during many years and continues to be studied nowadays. There are many scholarly articles on this theme. Therefore, there are still lots of controversial points about divorce in the Bible. After having examined three articles, I can say that views of different scientists on this question are similar as all of them rely on the same sources. They have logical reasoning and their evidences are solid.

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