Giftermål i 1 Kor 7:36-38. Utvärdering av åtta tolkningsförslag
Sammanfattning: In this exam paper the question of the meaning of 1 Cor 7:36-38 is addressed, a passage containing one case in which marriage is recommended and one in which it is not. To answer the question linguistic, literary and historical analyses are performed within the framework of an evaluation of eight proposed interpretations of the passage. In the first interpretation, labeled (A), the unspecified male person τις in 7:36 is assumed to refer to a father, and the female τὴν παρθένον αὐτοῦ in the same verse is assumed to refer to his virgin daughter. In interpretations (B) and (C) these persons are assumed to refer to a guardian and his ward respectively a slave owner and his slave girl. In these interpretations the two cases presented in the passage are assumed to deal with the question of whether the girl should be married off or not. Interpretation (D) says that the passage refers to an engaged or betrothed couple, and (E) to a couple that lives in a so called “spiritual marriage”, i.e. without sexual relations. Here the two cases are assumed to refer to whether the man should marry his girl or not. The sixth interpretation (F) says that the passage is about a newly converted couple living in a sexual relation. Interpretation (G) is concerned with levirate marriage and finally interpretation (H) understands the passage as referring to a young man and his own virginity. I argue that interpretations (A), (B), and (C) do not seem to fit the literary context of 1 Cor 7 even though Paul’s use of the rare verb γαμίζειν still is an important argument for this group of interpretations. The improbable understandings of the noun παρθένος in interpretation (F), (G), and (H), and also of the verb γαμεῖν in the first-mentioned are strong arguments in favor of the rejection of these interpretations. Against interpretation (E) speak the use of γαμεῖν, Paul’s instructions in 1 Cor 7:2-5, and the lack of evidence that this institution was practiced at such an early date in the Christian congregations. After these and many more arguments have been taken into account my conclusion is that interpretation (D) concerning a couple that is betrothed, engaged or has a less formal relationship is the most probable one. In the end of the paper I present three possible ethical implications of the passage in its context, of which the most important are that Paul does not give fathers the right to decide over the marriages of their daughters and that he does not allow sexual relations before marriage.
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