Tag Archives: matthew 19:1-11

The Unseen Wrath of God (Divine Justice in a Culture of Miscreants)

underwater-jesusI’m not a Christian fundamentalist. I’m not a conservative fundamentalist or a progressive (liberal) fundamentalist. I try to be very intentional about that. I increasingly see the problems with the attitudes and biblical interpretations of both my conservative and progressive brothers and sisters on a range of theological and political issues.

I survey my Facebook newsfeed and see the stuff coming from my conservative and progressive friends and I’m like, “Say what? Huh? Seriously? You believe that? Are you reading your Bible? What about this other verse? Jesus said more than that. C’mon, really?” (facepalm)  Jesus, where are you in this mess?

I’m active, but I’m not a hipster activist. I don’t think I have to weigh in publicly on every hot button social issue. I don’t think my opinion is that important, nor do I think it matters as much as my ego would have me believe some days. I don’t want to add to the noise. (sigh) Really, I don’t.

One of the reasons I continue to blog, for now, is that people tell me all the time how I write what they feel but have trouble expressing. So it appears that I’m connecting with an overlooked audience. If I can be a voice for the voiceless and encourage others, I’ll keep sharing my views via the blogosphere.

It’s unfortunate that the voices in the middle often get drowned out in the debates between polarizing extremes. The pendulum swings back and forth, and I’d like to think I see this happening most of the time. I’m trying.

My sincere desire is to help call us back to the center.

While I often question the effectiveness of posting anything to the web, especially on social media, I do feel that I have a responsibility as a pastor to people and a teacher of the Scriptures to bring clarity, if possible, in an effort to encourage and challenge the church where I see it’s needed, knowing full well that it’s the Spirit that changes us. I’m just a conduit of God’s grace.

For me, that often means addressing neglected or misrepresented theological and biblical issues, even if it’s a bit risky in doing so. I think it comes with the pastoral territory. It’s also part of the prophetic ministry.

We’re looking for faithful followers of Christ, not nice comfy fans.

God Doesn’t Freak Out, But He Is Concerned

In response to the recent SCOTUS decision in favor of same-sex marriage, the progressive blogger Benjamin Corey posted on how God isn’t freaking out.

It’s clear that Corey is trying to challenge the conservative fundamentalists who think God’s wrath is about to be unleashed, as if all of the other American atrocities haven’t been enough to trigger it. He makes an excellent point.

It’s true. God looks like Jesus, not Zeus.

I’ve sat down face-to-face and listened to Corey’s heart for the church at a joint in PA. He is an extremely nice guy. That doesn’t always come through on his blog. While I don’t agree with all of his positions, like celebrating the SCOTUS decision as progress, I’d like to simply respond to what I sense is the theological pendulum swinging too far to the left to make his point.

In this case, you might read Corey’s post, and others like it, as saying Jesus has done away with wrath altogether (i.e. if it hasn’t come yet, it never will). Maybe he doesn’t think that, but you could be led to believe it. So let me respond to the biblical “wrath” idea, because I think it’s too often misunderstood.

To be clear, this isn’t about my brother, Ben. It’s about the biblical concept of wrath. Please allow me to challenge the thinking that there is no such thing.

The Way Wrath Really Works

Regardless of what you think about the SCOTUS decision, I’d like to try and bring some clarity and balance as it pertains to God’s wrath, in light of Christ and the NT. For what it’s worth, here is how I understand it.

Jesus’ central message was about the coming Kingdom–salvation of sinners, release for the captives, sight for the blind, the year of favor and blessing (Matt 4:17; Lk 4:14-20). He didn’t come to condemn the world, but to save it, welcoming all those who would believe (Jn 3:16-17). Good news, right?

He showed outrageous love and mercy to the worst of the Jewish community, and taught us to do the same for Romans (Gentiles). God then extends his agape fellowship to the whole world–initiated with Abraham, made evident in Jesus, to be lived out by his church. That’s the story in a nutshell.

As so far as he is quoted in the gospels, the Jewish Jesus reserves judgment and “wrath” language for Jewish religious skeptics and hypocrites (Matt 23:13; Lk 10:13). This ought to be sobering for all of us who count ourselves among the “chosen” and elect of God. His harshest words are for the religious.

But did you catch that? Jesus’ primary audience was Jewish. He even said that his ministry was to the children of Israel (Matt 15:23). So, Jesus isn’t interacting much with Gentiles, certainly not with all of the particular vices common among them, including homosexuality.

Yes, that’s why, “Jesus doesn’t say a word about it.” It wasn’t an issue among religious Jews. It was clear and settled for them. But he did talk about the original design for sexuality and marriage (Matt 19:1-12), and its eschatological trajectory (Mk 12:25). It’s his Kingdom effect on human sexuality.

Jesus referred back to what God intended before the Law, allowances, concessions, and “no fault” divorce, before humanity brought on confusion caused by rebelling against the good order of God, and then he pointed us forward. It’s his love his way that truly wins.

Now back to wrath.

Jesus said some tough things that are not politically correct, nor do they sit well with our individualistic, post-modern, nice, therapeutic, new-age spirituality that’s so prevalent today. Have we really accepted this? He said there will be sheep and goats (Matt 25:31-46). At the end of human history, some will be turned away for not being true followers (Matt 7:22-23).

I’d call that “wrath.”  This is Jesus of Nazareth. Let’s deal with it.

The OT presented shadows of God. Christ in the NT is the reality (Col 2:17). We know what God is really like by looking long and hard at this Jesus—the Jesus who does warn of a final judgment. There’s no way around it, folks.

And we can’t leave out John’s depiction of Jesus in Revelation. Here we have an apocalyptic vision of Jesus judging the nations by the power of his word (Rev 19:15). He merely sorts it all out in the end by the word of his mouth.

In the meantime, something that often goes “unseen” is happening to evildoers.

Let’s consider Paul’s words about “wrath” in Romans 1:18-32. Look at verses 18 and 24. How does Paul describe God’s wrath in his context?

Paul, apostle to the Gentiles, writes, “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness…” (v.18) and a few verses later says, “Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts…” (v.24 – italics mine).

Paul says wrath is indeed being revealed. How is this happening?

According to Jesus and Paul, it’s built into the very system of creation and fall. Wrath is revealed as people get their way and do their own thing to the point of consequence. No fireballs from heaven. No divine warrior or butt-kicking stuff. Just sowing and reaping.

“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life” (Paul, Gal 6:-7-8).

Greg Boyd describes it as God’s “boomerang justice” or us getting what is coming to us. Hindus call it karma, the Scripture calls it wrath. It’s the great cosmic equalizer. It’s God’s universe correcting itself.

Therefore, Paul can say that God gives people over to their sin in order to experience the natural consequences of exchanging the glory of God for lies of the devil and the flesh. He means to say that indulging in and celebrating sinful behaviors as a society and culture is in and of itself revealing (in time) the wrath of God. We sow the wind, we reap the whirlwind (Hos 8:7).

The wrath doesn’t always come immediately, it comes slowly and is perpetuated by more evil that in time brings about hell on earth—chaos, destruction, and ultimately death. Whether it be slavery or sexual licentiousness, if not repented of, it leads to more evil. The “wrath” that follows is part of God’s divine program, if you will, coded into his good creation, working to self-correct.

We call it “God’s wrath” because it’s his holy programming, his divine laws, his order to the cosmos. He wired it that way, so he takes full responsibility.

An Invitation to Enter Grace

God’s grace to us is that Jesus absorbs the wrath of the system that we violated. The full consequences of our sin have fallen on him, because he chose it. He took our sins to the cross, then the grave, and set us free in his resurrection triumph. We broke his world, but he is fixing it.

The NT does not teach that we’re being saved from God, as if the Father is someone other than the Son revealed in Jesus (Jn 14:9), but instead from the wrath we essentially store up for ourselves as a result of our own rebellion against the Creator of everything, who knows better than we do.

Therefore, the invitation is to come into this Christ, to be safe and secure from all alarm, and to join him as agents of new creation. This is what God’s grace affords us! We weren’t meant to be objects of wrath, but persons of his love and affection. We were made in his image to reflect his glory into the earth, and then back to himself in worship and holy living.

To my conservative friends, if we take Jesus seriously, we need to see that God is not going after anyone with bloodthirsty vengeance. And to my progressive friends, you’re right to speak that message, but please don’t gloss over passages that bother you. To suggest such a thing is to remove any need for repentance, discipleship, and the gift we have in Christ. Let Jesus be Jesus.

Finally, I thank God for his grace received through repentance, the only way to escape the wrath we all deserve. For followers of Christ, that “wrath” meets grace and is experienced as loving discipline. For all scoffers in the culture who spurn God’s good will for human flourishing, his love will in time no doubt be experienced as wrath, in one form or another.

As long as we’re alive we can know for sure that there is hope for all of us miscreants, in this life and the next. I pray that we all will step into that costly grace and find the peace that the church and the world so desperately needs.

Shalom.

D.D. Flowers, 2015.

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Is Marriage a Covenant? Part II

Paul Rhodes Eddy is Professor of Biblical & Theological Studies at Bethel University and Teaching Pastor at Woodland Hills Church in St. Paul, MN.

Paul is currently working on a book entitled Kingdom Sex: Toward a Covenant-Centered Theology of Human Sexuality. The book will be a further development of an extended working paper that is currently available online.

This is the second part of material from his book that he has made available on conjugal marriage being a sacred covenant in the sight of God, as revealed throughout Christian history and the entire biblical corpus.

In the first post Is Marriage a Covenant? Part I Paul established that church history is quite favorable to the concept of marriage as a covenant.

So what about the Bible? In an effort to redefine marriage as set forth by Moses, Jesus, and the apostle Paul (Gen 2:18-24; Matt 19:1-11; Eph 5:25-31), some have questioned whether we can legitimately ground the notion of marriage as a covenant in the Scriptures. Is there a case against marriage as covenant?

In Is Marriage a Covenant? Part II, Paul Eddy will address three common arguments that have led to this conclusion, in order to present us with a defense for marriage as a covenant to be affirmed and celebrated in the church.

Is Marriage a Covenant? Part II

1) “There is no clear statement in the Bible that marriage is a covenant. For example, the Hebrew term for covenant (berith) is not found in Gen 2:18-25, the paradigmatic explanation of God’s design of marriage. Nor does Jesus or Paul ever call marriage a covenant.”

Here we must beware what some modern linguists refer to as the “word-thing fallacy,” which mistakenly assumes that if the word for something isn’t present, then neither is the concept.1

Frequently the concept and essence of a thing is present apart from the explicit terminology. (A classic biblical example is the fact that the term “Trinity” does not appear in the New Testament, while the seedling essence of this concept, which led to its later flowering within the church’s dogma, certainly is.) This is precisely the case with marriage and covenant in Genesis 2:18-25.2

To begin, we must remember that what a covenant, by definition, does is create, by promise and oath, a kinship-like bond (“kinship-in-law,” so to speak) where before none existed. As Walter Brueggemann demonstrated decades ago, understood in its ancient cultural context, the phrase “This is now bone of my bones, flesh of my flesh” in Gen 2:23 functions as a covenant formula that creates kinship.3

The renown OT scholar Frank Moore Cross explains: “In Israel, contrary to many primitive band or tribal societies, the legal compact of marriage introduced the bride into the kinship group or family. This is the proper understanding of Genesis 2:24 . . . . [W]hat is asserted is that the covenant of marriage establishes kinship bonds of the first rank between spouses.”4

2) “The texts often cited as evidence that marriage is called a covenant – e.g., Malachi 2:14; Proverbs 2:17; Ezekiel 16:8 – are better interpreted in other ways. For example, such texts are better understood as using the ancient marriage relationship merely as a metaphor for the covenant that God has with Israel.”5

Traditionally, at least three OT passages have been recognized as equating marriage with covenant:

(1) Mal 2:14 – “the Lord was a witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant”; (2) Prov 2:17 – “[the adulteress] who forsakes the partner of her youth and forgets her sacred covenant”; (3) Ezek 16:8 – “I passed by you again and looked on you; you were at the age for love. I spread the edge of my cloak over you, and covered your nakedness: I pledged myself to you and entered into a covenant with you, says the Lord God, and you became mine.”

Some scholars have argued that other things are going on in these passages. Given our limited space, we can’t enter into anything like an extended exploration of the details of these arguments. Suffice to say that just such an extended study has been done.

In his book, Marriage as a Covenant, Gordon Hugenberger explored virtually every possible argument that has been made against the common interpretation of these passages (with a focus on Mal 2:14).

Hugenberger’s conclusions have shown them to be questionable at best, and often less than that. The force of his arguments can be seen by the effect his book has had on this field of study.

For example, Michael Lawler, who is otherwise very willing to express skepticism with regard to related issues, nonetheless concludes that Hugenberger has successfully demonstrated that Mal 2:14 “portrays marriage as a solemn covenant.”6

And what of the claim that the OT prophets use the marriage covenant as merely a metaphor for the covenant that God shared with Israel?

First, this argument begins unraveling if it turns out that ancient Israelites did consider marriage to be a covenantal relationship (and evidence to this effect is discussed below).

Additionally, this thesis hinges on the developmental argument that ancient Israelite marriage was originally non-covenantal, that it was used by the prophets merely as a metaphor for the actual covenant between Yahweh and Israel, and that this metaphorical usage was later retrojected in a reified form back onto marriage, thus eventually turning it into a covenant much later.

However, this thesis begs the question of where the original covenantal roots lie by assuming that the initial impetus derived from the Sinai covenant between Yahweh and Israel (itself presumably drawn from the political realm of ancient suzerainty-vassal treaty-covenants). A number of scholars have made precisely the opposite developmental case.

For example, Elaine Adler argues that “the use of [a covenant] formula to express the legal relationship between YHWH and Israel finds its origins in family law, and thus the recitation of this expression would have evoked the quasi-familial, or even matrimonial nature of the covenant.”7 This observation aligns with Mark S. Smith’s contention that family, not political treaty, is the basic ground of ANE covenantal thought.8

Following along similar lines, Seock-Tae Sohn’s research has led him to conclude that “the origin and background of the [YHWH-Israel] covenant were the marriage practices of the people of Israel.”9 This claim raises the issue of evidence regarding the covenantal nature of ancient Israelite marriage, and so to this contested question we now turn.

3)“A covenant, by definition, requires an oath, but there is no evidence that ancient Israelite betrothals or marriages included an oath. In fact, there is no mention in the Bible of ceremonies or oaths necessary for a marriage covenant.”10

With a wide consensus of scholars today, we can agree that at the heart of the ancient notion of covenant is an oath.11 Thus, Hugenberger’s definition provides a useful guide: “A covenant, in its normal sense, is an elected, as opposed to natural [i.e., biological], relationship of obligation under oath.”12

This means we can expect to find a wide range of ancient human associations falling under the umbrella of “covenant” (berith) relationship within the OT, and we do – from political treaties (Gen 21:22-34; 26:26-31), to personal/familial relationships (Gen 31:43-55), to intimate friendships (I Sam 18:1-4; 20:8-17), to marriage (Mal 2:14).

But is there evidence of a marriage oath in the ancient Near Eastern (ANE) world? Skeptics argue in the negative based on observations such as extant ancient marriage documents do not contain an oath, and the Bible itself never explicitly mentions an oath spoken by a couple at their wedding. In fact, they claim, marriage ceremonial elements in general are missing from the Bible.

But are such observations – and/or the implications drawn from them – on track? Many scholars think not. It has been pointed out that the extant ancient marriage documents, much like our current marriage certificates, have a narrowly defined purpose: namely to function as durable written proof of the marriage for the purpose of dealing with legal and economic issues.13

The purpose of a marriage certificate is not to record the verbatim marriage vows of the couple. Rather, living witnesses (both divine and human) to the actual ceremony and the verbal pronouncements made there serve that function.14 Thus, it is quite likely that ANE marriages, including the ancient Israelites, did include the recitation of traditional verbal formulas (verba solemnia).15

What about the paucity of explicit references to ceremonial details of marriage covenant in the biblical texts? As members of any given culture know, there is little need to explicitly mention the details of what is assumed to be commonly shared assumptions and knowledge among cultural insiders. This is even more so the case for an ancient orally-dominant cultures where the phenomena of traditional referentiality and highly context-dependent communication patterns enable a remarkably economical use of language.16

For example, as Menahem Haran notes: “The phrase KRT Bĕrît (‘cut a covenant’), or similar wording, already entails in itself the details of ceremonial activity [i.e., the cutting of an animal and walking between the pieces as a non-verbal, self-maledictory oath] without any further need to highlight them explicitly.”17

The fact is that we have very little detailed information about marriage ceremonies well into the Christian tradition itself.18 All of that being said, a number of scholars have pointed out that the OT does refer, however elliptically and off-handedly, to some aspects of ancient marriage ceremonies (e.g., feasts, etc.).19

Finally, there is the problem of contemporary scholars who are unfamiliar with the range of possible oaths and oath-signs (i.e., non-verbal acts that function as an oath), and thus miss seeing their presence in the Bible. A classic case of this involves our topic at hand: the presence of an oath in the biblical understanding of marriage.

As Hugenberger has effectively demonstrated, there is good evidence to suggest that the act of sexual union was understood to function as an oath-sign between the marriage partners.20

But an oath requires the presence/involvement of the divine. Is there any evidence of involvement of the gods/God in ANE – and later Greco-Roman – marriages? It appears that the answer is ‘Yes.’ Extant documents concerning Mesopotamian marriages include temple rituals involving the gods.21 By Romans times, we find multiple gods involved in marriages in various ways.22

Within the Jewish tradition, the fact that the primordial marriage in Genesis 2 was seen as a creative act of Yahweh provides an even stronger basis for seeing divine involvement in the marriage covenant.

With the teachings of Jesus, based upon Genesis 2, God’s involvement in marriage is strongly emphasized: “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh” So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate” (Matt 19:6-7).

There is no mere “secular business arrangement” here.23 This is the language of covenant relationship.

Paul Rhodes Eddy

Thanks for reading! Feel free to address Paul in your comments. He would be happy to respond to any thoughts or questions you might have.

D.D. Flowers, 2014.

____________________
1 This fallacy was originally applied to biblical studies by James Barr, The Semantics of Biblical Language (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1961), 206-62. See also Anthony C. Thiselton, “Semantics and Biblical Interpretation,” in New Testament Interpretation: Essays on Principles and Methods, ed. I. H. Marshall (Grad Rapids: Eerdmans, 1977), 75-104; Stanley E. Porter, “The Concept of Covenant in Paul,” in The Concept of Covenant in the Second Temple Period, eds. S. E. Porter and J. C. R. de Roo (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2003), 269-85.
2 Despite the reservations of some, that Genesis 2:18-25 is, in fact, about marriage is demonstrated (apart from other internal considerations) by ANE parallels. E.g., see Bernard F. Batto, “The Institution of Marriage in Genesis 2 and in Atrahasis,” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 62 (2000), 621-31.
3 Walter Brueggemann, “Of the Same Flesh and Bone (GN 2, 23a),” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 32 (1970), 532-42. Similarly, André LaCocque points out that the phrase functions as “a formula of kinship.” André LaCocque The Trial of Innocence: Adam, Eve, and the Yahwist (Eugene, OR: Cascade, 2006), 121.
4 Frank Moore Cross, “Kinship and Covenant in Ancient Israel,” in From Epic to Canon: History and Literature in Ancient Israel (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998), 7-8. See also the extensive argument for marriage in Genesis 2 as a covenant in Gordon P. Hugenberger, Marriage as Covenant: Biblical Law and Ethics as Developed from Malachi (Boston: Brill, 1994; reprint ed. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1998).
5 F. C. Fensham, “The Marriage Metaphor in Hosea for the Covenant Relationship between the Lord and his People (Hos 1:2-9),” Journal of Northwest Semitic Languages 12 (1984), 71-79; Milgrom, Cult and Conscience, 134-6; Tully, “Stutzman, Sex, and Secular Marriage.”
6 Lawler, “Marriage as Covenant in the Catholic Tradition,” 75.
7 Elaine June Adler, “The Background for the Metaphor of Covenant as Marriage in the Hebrew Bible” (PhD Diss., University of California at Berkeley, 1990), 120. Adler argues forcefully that marriage was seen as a covenant in ancient Israel (pp. 296-308). Intriguingly, Jacob Milgrom – a strong advocate for the opposite perspective – was on her dissertation committee and officially signed off on her thesis!
8 Mark S. Smith, “‘Your People Shall Be My People’: Family and Covenant in Ruth 1:16-17,” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 69 (2007), 242-58. See also Cross, “Kinship and Covenant in Ancient Israel.” This observation also forces a reconsideration of how we view OT “love” language. In the early 1960s, William Moran (“The Ancient Near Eastern Background of the Love of God in Deuteronomy,” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 25 [1963], 77-87) made the case that Deuteronony’s “love” language should be seen a rooted in political suzerainty-vassal treaties, and a scholarly consensus followed. But in light of the shift toward family-oriented understandings of covenant, viewing things with a monochromatic political lens requires reassessment. See e.g., Susan Ackerman, “The Personal is Political: Covenant and Affectionate Love (’ĀHĒB, ’AHĂBÂ) in the Hebrew Bible,” Vetus Testamentum 52 (2002), 437-58.
9 Seock-Tae Sohn, “‘I Will Be Your God and You Will Be My People’: The Origin and Background of the Covenant Formula,” in Ki Baruch Hu: Ancient Near Eastern, Biblical, and Judaic Studies in Honor of Baruch A. Levine, eds. R. Chazan, W. W. Hallo, and L. H. Schiffman (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1999), 355-72 (here p. 368).
10 Milgrom, Cult and Conscience, 134; Greenberg, Ezekiel 1-20, 278; Tully, “Stutzman, Sex, and Secular Marriage.”
11 E.g., Cross, “Kinship and Covenant in Ancient Israel,” 8; D. J. McCarthy, Treaty and Covenant (Rome: Biblical Institute Press, 1981), 141; Scott Hahn, Kinship by Covenant (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009), 28; Gene Tucker, “Covenant Forms and Contract Forms,” Vetus Testamentum 15 (1965), 487-503; Daniel C. Lane, “The Meaning and Use of Berith in the Old Testament” (PhD diss., Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, 2000), 314.
12 Hugenberger, Marriage as a Covenant, 9.
13 For a feel of the overwhelmingly legal-economic concerns dealt with in ancient marriage contracts, see the examples of Aramaic papyri from Elephantine in James B. Prichard, ed., The Ancient Near East, vol. I: An Anthology of Texts and Pictures (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1958), 170-72.
14 Eva von Dassow, “Introducing the Witnesses in Neo-Babylonian Documents,” in Chazan, et al., eds, Ki Baruch Hu, 3-21.
15 E.g., Samuel Greengus, “The Old Babylonian Marriage Contract,” Journal of the American Oriental Society 89 (1969), 505-32; idem, “Old Babylonian Marriage Ceremonies and Rite,” Journal of Cuneiform Studies 20 (1966), 55-72; Haymin Tadmor, “Treaty and Oath in the Ancient Near East: A Historian’s Approach,” in Humanizing America’s Iconic Book: Society of Biblical Literature Centennial Addresses 1980, eds. G. M. Tucker and D. A. Knight (Chico, CA: Scholars Press, 1982), 139; Menahem Haran, “The Bĕrît ‘Covenant’: Its Nature and Ceremonial Background,” in Tehillah le-Moshe: Biblical and Judaic Studies in Honor of Moshe Greenberg, eds. M. Cogan, B. L. Eichler, and J. H. Tigay (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1997), 203-19; Adler, “Background for the Metaphor of Covenant as Marriage,” 111-24; Norbert Lofink and Erich Zenger, The God of Israel and the Nations, trans. E. R. Kalin (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical, 2000), 86. Mordechai Friedman has made a case for identifying an ancient Israelite bridal verbal response in Hosea 2:17. See Friedman, “Israel’s Response in Hosea 2:17b: ‘You are My Husband,’” Journal of Biblical Literature 99 (1980), 199-204.
16 John Miles Foley, Immanent Art: From Structure to Meaning in Traditional Oral Epic (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1991), 6-13; idem, How to Read an Oral Poem (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2002), 59-65, 130-33; E. J. Bakker, “Activation and Preservation: The Interdependence of Text and Performance in an Oral Tradition,” Oral Tradition 8 (1993) 5-20; D. Tannen, “Relative Focus on Involvement in Oral and Written Discourse,” in Literacy, Language, and Learning: The Nature and Consequences of Reading and Writing, eds. D. R. Olson, N. Torrance, and A. Hildyard (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1985) 124-47.
17 Haran, “Bĕrît ‘Covenant’,” 208.
18 See Kenneth Stevenson, Nuptial Blessing: A Study of Christian Marriage Rites (New York: Oxford University Press, 1983).
19 E.g., Loren Wade, “Marriage and Covenant: Reflections on the Theology of Marriage,” Journal of the Adventist Theological Society 13/2 (2002), 80-81.
20 Hugenberger, Marriage as a Covenant, 185-279. Also Hahn, Kinship by Covenant, 5-6, 52-54.
21 E.g., see Greengus, “Old Babylonian Marriage Ceremonies and Rituals,” 58, 61.
22 Karen K. Hersch, “Gods of the Roman Wedding,” in The Roman Wedding: Ritual and Meaning in Antiquity (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010), ch. 4.
23 Tully, “Stutzman, Sex, and Secular Marriage.”


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