Various Christian societies utilize Genesis 2:24 as locus classicus for monogamy. A literary - historical approach has been followed in this study to show that Genesis 2:24 cannot serve as locus classicus for monogamy only. Monogamy is not the only acceptable marriage form for the Christian faith. Chapter one constitutes the introduction with the problem setting, objectives, method and hypothesis. The hypothesis of this study therefore states that Genesis 2:24 cannot serve as locus classicus for the legitimation of an exclusive monogamous marriage only. This text might also be applicable to poligamous marriage forms. Practical and sosio – cultural considerations influenced Israel and determined their marriage customs. Diachronical perspectives of polygamy are being given in chapter two. Examples from about 2000 BC until 1753 AC of various types of marriages and marriage customs have been investigated to depict the influence of Israel’s practical and socio – cultural circumstances. Socio - cultural influences and demands led to various types of marriages like the levirate, polygamy, endogamy and exogamy. These types of marriages that existed were primarily determined by the demands of social circumstances rather than religious prescriptions. Polygamy was an useful type of marriage to guarantee care, propagation and survival of the family. Chapter three consists of an analytical investigation of the meaning of Genesis 2:24. It’s meaning was investigated in various literary – and historical contexts. Genesis 2-3 is a narrative about the dependent, fallible and mortal man of the earth. Various important themes like death, relationships, social issues, guilt, suffering, punishment etcetera are evident in this narrative. From the analysis it seems that the author(s) / redactor(s) / Bearbeiter(s) of the text had a specific focus with this narrative. He called on man to bow before Yahweh, God of creation. The text especially focused on all people with power and authority. The narrative illustrates that man can never be God or be like God. The post – exilic author(s) / redactor(s) confirm with Genesis 2:4b-3:24 that man should stay humble before and dependant upon God. The text calls on people with power and authority to humble themselves before God. One of the narrative’s functions is to describe man’s hubris and to counter attitude and the hierarchy in various social structures. Genesis 2:24 is probably a later insertion by a redactor / Bearbeiter(s)</I of the text to serve as an aetiology for the power of attraction between man and woman. This insertion also emphasizes man’s interdependence upon one another. Without woman man cannot exist. This power of attraction is natural and necessary to bring man and woman together to fulfill God’s command in Genesis 1:28, namely to be fruitful and to multiply and fill the earth. Although Genesis 2:24 shows a connection with marriage, it doesn’t exclusively refer to monogamy alone. The Nachwirkungsgeschichte of Genesis 2:24 confirms that other Old Testament - as well as extra - biblical - and New Testament texts didn’t quote Genesis 2:24 to found or to legitimate the monogamous marriage. Old Testament texts that probably can be interpreted as pro – polygamous have been discussed in chapter 4. In this chapter it has been shown that polygamy was not repudiated in the Yahweh community and that monogamy was not idealized in the Old Testament. The Old Testament mentions polygamy as a known and accepted marriage custom in Old Israel. It served important social functions (economically and politically) and played a role in the survival and the existence struggle of Israel. The conclusion of this study in chapter 5 is that Genesis 2:24 cannot be utilized as locus classicus to found or legitimize monogamy as the only marriage form. The text could also be applicable to polygamy. Practical considerations, social situations and cultural customs influenced Israel’s view of marriage and determined what in their relationship with Yahweh was morally and ethically acceptable for them. This also applies to polygamous marriage. Cultural customs and moral and ethical norms and values which served to Israel as norm in their Yahweh religion, can also serve to make a custom like polygamous marriage acceptable today. With this argumentation the hypothesis of the study can be confirmed.
Thesis (PhD (Old Testament Studies))--University of Pretoria, 2005.