Definition of Divorce Article Summary
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Summary of Deuteronomy 24:4 Article:
The word 'divorce' has two meanings: 1. 'the permanent termination of a marriage', and 2. separation.
Today, when a person says they are 'divorced', they exclusively mean that their marriage has been 'permanently terminated'. Before the 1850s, 'divorce' was not distinguished from 'legal separation' and it was much more common for people use the word 'divorce' when they meant 'legal separation'. The Etymology (i.e. history) of the word 'divorce' shows that 'separation' was a major theme. Clearly, the definition and usage of the word 'divorce' has changed over time, with words, in general, becoming more restricted and specific in their definitions and usage. Yet, even today, there are some examples of the word 'divorce' exclusively meaning 'separation'. For example, there are several categories of 'divorce' according to the Legal dictionary. One: 'divorce a mensa et thoro' means 'separation' and not 'termination of a marriage'.
Those who claim that the word 'divorce' in the Bible means 'permanent termination of marriage' and nothing else offer no proof for such an assumption. How do I know it to be true? How do I know that Jesus and Moses used 'divorce' to mean 'permanent termination of marriage' and not mere 'separation'?
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This site was last updated 07/25/08