Koine Greek Expert Regarding Matthew's Exception Clauses

Doesn’t the 'What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder" make any exception clause sort of irrelevant? If it’s a valid union by God, that’s the end of it, right? The exception clause only makes sense in the sense of it not being a union of God. We can’t just ignore Mark’s Gospel in favour of Matthew’s… as though looking for a loophole, surely they both work together?

To clarify, I’m not a student of Koine Greek.

I didnt ask for an “explanation of how there was no divorce for any reason”.

I have asked of the Koine Greek phrases directly before “porneia” in Matt. 5 and 19.

And I have asked why the Fathers of the Church interpreted the exception clause as meaning, no divorce except for infidelity… yet without remarriage. And surprisingly met with disagreement. So I asked for a Father of the Church having written anything on unlawful marriages.

The Clement of Alexandria quote looks alot different in the translations we found.

Yeah? Sure about that? Let’s see what you’ve said, in this very thread:

I get that you’re also trying to address other issues, and I think you might be accurate in some of the things you’re saying. But, in terms of “divorce”, when you’ve addressed it directly… I can’t see how you’re correct. :man_shrugging:

Those arent questions…

I know. They’re mistaken assertions.

No, Augustine was clear what he believed the exception clause to mean. Divorce is justified because of infidelity, while remarriage is prohibited. As far as I have read, most Church fathers believed similar. I have yet to see one Church Father who explained the clause as meaning an unlawful marriage.

You are hung up on divorce being absolutely prohibited, which it’s technically not. Petrine and Pauline privileges tolerate it. And these Church fathers understood some divorce as separation without eligibility to remarry.

I personally believe the clause understood as unlawful marriage makes more sense, and/or including infidelity during betrothal (or non-consummated marriage). Deuteronomy 22 relates this infidelity as “fornication in her father’s house”.

The Church tolerates civil divorce because of some situations. She also tolerates separation because of infidelity. She also can decree a marriage invalid because of certain impediments.

If you’ve paid attention to anything I’ve said, I have not criticized any of that. I have simply questioned why the Church Fathers didnt see the exception clause as referring to invalid marriages. And i also recognize that leaders in Rome have criticized Tribunal interpretation and applications to cases.

Today, at Mass, the priest (retired) explained that Jesus sided with Hillel, and divorce is justified because of unfaithfulness. He explained that Moses’ concession for divorce was a positive step forward. And that Jesus supported it as interpreted by Hillel.

I must disagree with another priest, in good conscience.


It was his homily. I would disagree with his thesis, based on what I’ve been taught and what I’ve read. More to the point, I can’t speak to what he was taught, 40-50 years ago, in his seminary experience. Much has transpired in Scripture study since then.

This is the sort of thing that happens, when the topic is addressed, or the topic isnt addressed at all.

Trent was long before his seminary. And he should know better than that by now anyway.

It would be one thing if he had explained separation, with the bond remaining. But he didnt.

Also, he said absolutely nothing about invalid marriages.

He said this in his homily? I find that very strange. Catholic teaching is very clear on this point. Porneia in these two verses in Matthew means a marriage that was in some way not legitimate to begin with. It’s not about marital infidelity.

That is what it says in the CCC. It’s the meaning that the Church long ago decided to attach to Jesus’ words. It’s a question of a priest preaching Catholic doctrine or the doctrine of some other church.


Yes, he did. I’m not messing around.

The reading (which actually was not read in full) uses the translation “unlawful marriages”. However, he explained that it meant adultery, and that Jesus was siding with Hillel’s interpretation of Deuteronomy 24.

So he had two things wrong. Jesus actually abrogated Moses’s concession of divorce. And the exception clause does not permit divorce because of adultery.

After Mass, I mentioned it to the DRE, and unfortunately she said she wasnt paying attention too close, because it was long. Lol!

1 Like

Any so-called “language expert”, when endeavoring apart from the Apostolic Tradition and the Magisterium, is headed for the ditch. That person is driving in a fog.

Why did Christ set the Church up with all three aspects? Any one of them, separated from the others, guarantees error. Have we not witnessed 500 years of nothing but increasing error?

Apostolic Tradition seems to say the exception clause meant separation is justified because of unfaithfulness, while magisterial Teaching seems to say the exception clause refers to divorcing (civil) from invalid marriages.

So both maintain that remarriage is prohibited for two Christians. Yet both interpret the clause in a different way.

I tend to think invalid marriages makes more sense. I just dont think any Church fathers explained it this way.

So I was interested if the Greek sheds any light on one particular interpretation.

Can any show support for this?

I’ve never found any. Neither does it make sense. Jesus obviously abrogated Moses’ law which the pharisees raised.

The exception must have been about betrothal unfaithfulness, unlawful marriages, or simply a justification for legal divorce, yet with the Christian bond remaining.

1 Like

Yes… Jesus IS THE RABBI - whom perfectly reflects His Father God…


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.