DIVORCE IN THE NEW TESTAMENT, by Raymond F. Collins. Good News Studies, Vol. 8. Glazier/The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, 1992. 389 pp. $19.95 (paper). ISBN 0-8146-5691-9.
Collins, a priest and theologian, offers an exhaustive exegetical work on the teachings of divorce in the New Testament. He offers literary and historical commentaries on the sayings of Jesus and is faithful to tradition while offering alternative insights.
Two chapters deal with the apostle Paul's words on divorce as found in I Corinthians 7:1-11 and 12-16. Collins concludes that Paul, who dealt with the Jesus sayings before the synoptic Gospels, interpreted the available teachings of Jesus in a style reminiscent of Jewish rabbis commenting on the Torah. Paul attempted to make Jesus' words relevant to the fledgling Christian communities in his day. Chapter 3 examines Mark 10:2-12, the oldest of the synoptic accounts of Jesus' views on divorce. The next chapters focus on Matthew's versions in 19:3-12 and 5:31-32, as well as the abbreviated comment in Luke 16:18. Chapter 6 examines the "exception clause" of Matthew 5:32: "except on the ground of chastity." The final chapter explores Jesus' divorce teachings from the perspectives of Judaism, women, and the church. …