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God, Justice, and SocietyAspects of Law and Legality in the Bible$
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Jonathan Burnside

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199759217

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199759217.001.0001

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New Laws For A New Age

New Laws For A New Age

(p.389) 12 New Laws For A New Age
God, Justice, and Society

Jonathan Burnside

Oxford University Press

This chapter looks at how the biblical laws of marriage, divorce, and sexual relations were interpreted during the Second Temple (or intertestamental) period, with reference to the writers of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the followers of Jesus. It shows that there is considerable fluidity between literary genres that are nowadays regarded as distinct and that the early chapters of Genesis were often crucial to legal interpretation. Despite fundamental differences between the Qumran community and the New Testament writers, the laws of marriage, divorce, and remarriage were important to both groups as a means of championing a particular attitude towards Moses, the purposes of God, and the eschaton (the end of the present age). The chapter argues that interpretations of biblical law (including on the question of divorce and remarriage) helped to define the identity of both religious groups, particularly in relation to their opponents.

Keywords:   Dead Sea Scrolls, divorce, Jesus, marriage, Moses, remarriage, sexual relations, Second Temple period, Qumran

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