The ritual process of marriage : a contextual exegesis of Mark 10:2- 12.
The scope of the thesis is a reflection on the present marriage process within the church, focusing particularly on the U.P.C.S.A. This reflection is done through exegesis of Mark 10:2-12, using Professor J. Draper's tri-polar exegetical model. The aim is to broaden the church's understanding of the marriage process, thus making this key transition in peoples' lives more profound. This Thesis endeavours to bring together doctrine and praxis, through both textual and contextual analysis. Using Narrative and Ritual Theory at both the textual and contextual level, this thesis seeks to examine both the text and context in a new and innovative way. The use of anthropological ritual models allows one not only to step back from the text, but also initiates doctrinal discussion at a practical level. Further both the text and context are examined through historical reflection, placing both the book of Mark and present the marriage doctrines in their broad social, political and economic circumstance. Is the church's doctrine with regard to marriage adequately represented in praxis through the present wedding ceremony or have other forces lead to a misappropriation of Mark 10:2-12? The nature of the tri-polar exegetical model is that it is both dependent on the context for input and acknowledges that any exegesis must have an impact upon the lived-experience of the community of believers. Both present doctrine and praxis of marriage, I believe, are challenged in this thesis through a careful analysis of Mark 10:2-12, in the context of Mark through the use of both, ritual analysis and narrative criticism. In 2003, the church not only is faced with a crisis in respect of marriage and its decline, but it is also faced with an opportunity - the present increase in the interest in ritual. This thesis gives some insights into how the church can take up the challenge and use ritual as a tool of liberation. This thesis is thus by nature complex as it seeks to bring together doctrine and praxis, through ritual theory and analysis.