Publication Date



School of Religion


Religion: Biblical Studies

Primary Subject Area

Religion, Biblical Studies


porneia, divorce, exception clauses, matthean exception clauses, porneia in the matthean exception clauses, Jesus' teaching on divorce, Matthew 5:32, Matthew 19:9


Biblical Studies | Comparative Methodologies and Theories | Ethics in Religion | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Other Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Other Religion | Religion | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion


Matthew 5:32 and 19:9 present an interesting exegetical discussion concerning the acceptability and permissibility of divorce. These verses provoke interest because of their inclusion of an exception clause seemingly allowing for a permissible divorce. The verses state the unlawfulness of divorce “except in the case of porneia.” Porneia is the word around which this discussion revolves and its meaning differs vastly depending upon the interpreter. The word is interpreted specifically as adultery during the betrothal period and also as sexual promiscuity and immorality on the other. This thesis explains both views and then seeks to offer all relevant evidence by exploring context, background, lexical meaning, tradition, and the various uses of the word in the New Testament and Septuagint.