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Marriage and Family in the Biblical World [Paperback]

By Ken M. Campbell (Editor)
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Item description for Marriage and Family in the Biblical World by Ken M. Campbell...

Six experts working in their respective fields trace out the dynamic contours of marriage and family as understood and practiced in Ancient Israel and the Near East, in Greek and Roman society, in second temple Judaism, and finally, in the New Testament. The result is a well-informed and documented map that traces out the similarity and diversity of concepts and customs, including marriage, divorce, sexual ethics, gender roles, children, celibacy, adoption, abortion, contraception, and family life, which surrounded and intersected Ancient Israel and the church in New Testament times.

Publishers Description
Current debates about marriage and the family assume much about the history of these institutions. But what do we really know about the social and ethical arrangements of these institutions, especially during biblical times? Placing the history of marriage and family in context requires not only a study of biblical literature that traverses several millennia but also a grasp of extrabiblical literature and sources culled from several different cultural contexts. In this book Ken M. Campbell presents the work of six scholars who trace out the dynamic contours of marriage and family as understood and practiced in six cultural settings: Victor H. Matthews on the ancient Near East, Daniel I. Block on ancient Israel, S. M. Baugh on Greek society, Susan M. Treggiari on Roman society, David W. Chapman on Second Temple Judaism and Andreas Kostenberger on the New Testament era. The result is a well informed and documented map that outlines the similarity and diversity of concepts and customs, including marriage, divorce, sexual ethics, gender roles, children, celibacy, adoption, abortion, contraception and family life, which surrounded and intersected Ancient Israel and the church in New Testament times."

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Item Specifications...

Studio: InterVarsity Press
Pages   304
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.18" Width: 6" Height: 0.91"
Weight:   1 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Nov 6, 2003
Publisher   IVP-InterVarsity Press
ISBN  0830827374  
ISBN13  9780830827374  

Availability  4 units.
Availability accurate as of Mar 28, 2017 07:36.
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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Bible & Other Sacred Texts

Christian Product Categories
Books > Bible Study > General Studies > Biblical History & Culture

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Reviews - What do customers think about Marriage and Family in the Biblical World?

Author Should Have Caught Huge Errors Before Going To Print  Feb 13, 2006
The title of the book intrigued me as I desire to know more about the ancient culture of Israel. I was just about to order this book when I happened to read one of the excerpts and discovered in one of the footnotes that the author decribes an event in which Absalom raped his sister, Tamar. This is totally false as it was actually Amnon who raped Tamar, not Absalom(II Samuel 13:14-15). It was Absalom who avenged his sister's rape by arranging Amnon's murder (II Samuel 13:26-32). Futhermore, the author references the rape as occurring in the book of I Samuel, when it is in II Samuel. These are very huge mistakes that should have been caught before this book went to print. Moreover, if I spotted such serious errors by simply giving a small sample a cursory read, then I'm sure I'd find many more if I were to actually purchase the book. Were it a matter of one or two minor typos, I could possibly have gotten past it, but there's no way I could ignore errors in factual data. Presenting material on the Bible is a huge undertaking as it is a sacred book by which many people live their lives. More attention should have been given to the accuracy of details presented, and to proofreading. Not only do the book's problems cause me to question the author's credibility, I'm also left to wonder if he even read the Bible. Therefore, I can not, will not, purchase this book.
Comprehensive treatment  Mar 10, 2004
In this very informative volume six Protestant biblical scholars provide us with almost everything you've wanted to know about the institutions of marriage and family in biblical times. The six scholars cover all the territory, with incisive chapters on marriage and family in the Ancient Near East (ANE), in ancient Israel, in Greek society, in Roman society, in Second Temple Judaism, and in the New testament.

Taken together they provide comprehensive coverage of the issues as developed over several thousand years of biblical history. Family life and marriage patterns are expertly covered in detail, as are all the related questions: divorce, sexual ethics, adoption, parenting, abortion, celibacy, children, homosexuality, and gender roles.

Consider the chapter on "Marriage and Family in Ancient Israel" by Daniel Block. This is an excellent example of biblical scholarship combined with social and historical analysis. Block, who has written some excellent biblical commentaries on the book of Judges and the book of Ezekiel, here provides a detailed survey of the Old Testament understanding of marriage and family. It is very-well referenced, with 321 footnotes supplementing the 70 page chapter. All aspects of family life are covered.

His discussion on patriarchy is most illuminating. Block argues that the term itself is misleading, and should be replaced by the term "patricentrism". This is because the biblical emphasis is on the responsibilities of the husband, not just his privileges and power. Wives, children and even slaves were treated with respect, even if a hierarchy of authority was in order.

Wives especially were not second-class citizens, as some might suppose. Indeed, women were not just property of the husband, with no legal status. Instead, the dignity of the wife is affirmed in the Old Testament, as is her influence in the household. True, examples of male headship being abused appear in the biblical accounts, but they are the exception to the rule.

It is interesting to compare this chapter with Victor Matthews' chapter on the ANE, to see some contrasts and similarities. He discusses a number of practices which are very much in the news today, including contraception, abortion and homosexuality.

His chapter, along with the chapters on Greek and Roman families, show that although many differences exist, there have been some constants throughout this period. Family life has always been the center of all societies; marriage has been the norm; polygamy was always the exception; and homosexuality was nowhere widely embraced.

The last two articles on Second Temple (intertestamental) Judaism, and the New testament, show a continuation of that established by the Old Testament. Jesus of course, while affirming the traditional understanding of marriage and family, did indicate that his followers comprise a much larger family that in some ways transcends the natural family unit.

Thus in his calls to discipleship, willingness to leave family behind is a hallmark of serious commitment to Christ. Such radical demands do not however mean that Jesus takes a lower view of marriage and family. It is just that the demands of the gospel are to take priority over every aspect of life, no matter how good and noble they may be. Total allegiance to Jesus may mean abandoning more natural ties.

Of course both Peter and Paul will later to go on and reaffirm marriage and family, and even make qualification of leadership in the church dependent on how one rules in his own home. So while the New testament views marriage and family through the lens of God's kingdom and purposes, it still retains its very high status and calling.

This book is an excellent source of information on all things pertaining to marriage and family in the biblical world. Given the contentious debates surrounding marriage and family today, this book will provide a good historical, social and religious framework with which to judge such discussions.


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