The 'Institutions' of Marriage and Divorce in the Hebrew Bible

Jackson, B. S. (2011) The 'Institutions' of Marriage and Divorce in the Hebrew Bible. Journal of Semitic Studies, 56 (2). pp. 221-251. ISSN 0022-4480

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This article clarifies the concept of an ‘institution’, and distinguishes between social, legal and religious institutions. The attention devoted to marriage and divorce in the Biblical law collections is slim, focusing mainly on prohibited relationships (including adultery). Narrative and proverbial sources suggest that marriage and divorce started as purely social institutions. Two laws concern the interest of the father of the bride in the mohar; a parallel concern apparently also informs the divorce law of Deuteronomy 24. The slavery laws also cast light on different forms of marital relationship. I ask whether marriage appears as a religious institution (involving an attribution of sanctity), and conclude that the evidence for this is weak before Ezra. I conclude that the divine metaphor of God's marriage with Israel played a role in strengthening the human institution of marriage and laying the foundation for its later, more systematic juridification in the halakhah.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BM Judaism
K Law > K Law (General)
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Arts & Humanities > Theology, Philosophy and Religion
Depositing User: Susan Murray
Date Deposited: 10 Mar 2014 08:41
Last Modified: 10 Mar 2014 08:41

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