Forced divorce? : a synthesis of parallactic approaches to the ethical pragmatism of divorce in the Old Testament & New Testament text.
In this thesis I addressed the topic, Forced Divorce? A Synthesis of Parallactic Approaches to the Ethical Pragmatism of Divorce in the Old Testament and New Testament Texts in six steps. I provided a research design of the thesis, an analysis of the family institutions in Ancient Israel, a literary, historical and social background to the texts of Ezra and Nehemiah, followed by an application of rhetorical criticism to Ezra 910 and Nehemiah 13. Thereafter, I provided an analysis of anthropological insights to the World of the New Testament with specific reference to the Gospels, and implemented an application of rhetorical criticism to Matthew 19: 1-12, Mark 10:1-12 and Luke 16: 18. This is followed by an analysis of the provision and prohibition of divorce in the Jewish society, and an analysis of the Agunah problem. My main findings were that the basic common horizon underlying Ezra, Nehemiah, Matthew, Mark and Luke is that divorce was socially accepted as a social norm in the relevant communities. Secular ethics allowed for divorce, but the Kingdom ethics presented by Jesus reinforced the original divine plan of marriage - i.e. one man and one woman joining to form one flesh.