Marriage, Adultery, and Divorce

Book Section (Chapter)

As an institution, marriage legislates and enforces the dissemination and protection of property, sorting between the categories “legitimate” and “illegitimate.” Instructions regarding marriage, adultery, and divorce in various New Testament books confirm these general insights; though a majority of the writers recommend celibacy and singleness over the formation of households, the role of marriage in distributing property, cementing genealogical connections, and promoting honor and status was taken for granted. Conversant with contemporary marriage customs as well as with Septuagint metaphors and legal proscriptions, the New Testament writers presented their teachings on marriage, adultery, and divorce as distinctive and yet traditional. Even so, their presentations of Jesus’s teachings and God’s purposes did not necessarily agree. New Testament books reveal a lively internal discussion about the implications of faith in Jesus for household arrangements, inheritance rights, sexual practices, and kinship.

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Knust, J

Cited Editors

  • Dunning, BH

Published Date

  • October 14, 2019

Book Title

  • The Oxford Handbook of New Testament, Gender, and Sexuality


  • V.ii

Published By

Place of Publication

  • New York and Oxford

International Standard Book Number 10 (ISBN-10)

  • 0190213396

International Standard Book Number 13 (ISBN-13)

  • 9780190213398