Polygamy In Judaism And Christianity

On the history of polygamy, since ancient times, and the permissibility of this phenomenon in the Jewish and Christian religions.

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Why church banned polygamy, Polygamy can not be considered a practice that is common only in the Islamic religion. On the contrary, this phenomenon was well known from ancient times among the "holders of the Scriptures", that is, among the Jews and Christians. In fact, only recently their religious leaders have disapproved of responding to polygamy or declaring it completely banned. But if one of us decides to look at the early history of these religions, he will find many interesting evidence that polygamy was a perfectly acceptable practice, if not even more, by an approving act.

Polygamy in Judaism

Polygamy existed among the descendants of Israel even before the time of the appearance of the prophet Moses. He only continued this practice, without even limiting the number of wives on which a Jewish man could marry. So, the Jewish Encyclopedia informs us:

"Due to the fact that there is no evidence of a polyandric way of life of primitive Jewish society, polygamy can be considered a widespread phenomenon, the emergence of which should be attributed to the most ancient times, and whose existence continued almost up to the present day."

Another widespread phenomenon was the content of lovers. At a later time, the Talmud of Jerusalem limited the number of women allowed to be held by a man. So, some rabbis advised not to take more than four women. In the end, polygamy was outlawed, but it was the rabbis themselves, and not the Lord. The prohibition of polygamy is attributed to a rabbi named Gershom ben Jude, who lived in the 11th century and declared polygamy forbidden for Eastern European Jews (Ashkenazi) for a thousand years (this term expired in 1987). At the same time, the Sephardic Jews (of Spanish or Portuguese origin) continued to practice polygamy in their lives. Will Durant noted: "Polygamy existed among wealthy Jews who lived in Islamic countries, but it was extremely rare among Jews living in the Christian world." According to Joseph Ginat, professor of sociology and culture of anthropology at the University of Haifa, polygamy is distributed among 180,000 Bedouins of Israel and this figure continues to increase. Also, cases of polygamy are not uncommon among Mediterranean Jews living in Yemen, where rabbis allow Jews to take up to four wives. In modern Israel, if a wife can not give birth or is mentally inferior, the rabbis give her husband the right to marry a second woman without divorcing her first wife.

Polygamy in Christianity

Jesus also tolerated polygamy for his followers, although he did not begin to create a family, and during his stay on earth never married. As Christian religious figure Eugene Hillman put it: "Nowhere in the New Testament is there a single commandment that says marriage should be monogamous, just as there is not a single clear command that prohibits polygamy." Despite this, the Roman Church banned polygamy in order to conform to the Greco-Roman culture, which prescribed only one lawful wife and at the same time allowed fornication and prostitution.

The Roman Emperor Valentinian I, who lived in the IV century, allowed Christians to take two wives. In the eighth century, King Charles I the Great (Charlemagne), by force seizing both church and state power, declared polygamy permissible, showing with his own example, taking six or, according to some reports, nine wives. As noted by Joseph Ginat, author of the book Polygamous Families in Modern Society, the Catholic Church usually showed discontent, but sometimes allowed second marriages to political leaders.

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St. Augustine, apparently, also saw nothing in this phenomenon that could be considered immoral or sinful. He wrote that polygamy was not a crime, but it was a legally institutionalized institution in the country. In his book "The Benefits of Marriage" (Volume 15, paragraph 17), he wrote about polygamy:

"... it was considered permissible among the ancient fathers: to say whether it is legal now, I'm not in a hurry. After all, now there is no the same need for the birth of children as it was then. Previously, despite the fact that the wives gave birth to children, it was allowed to marry other women in order to get more offspring. But now, of course, this is not required. "

He refused to condemn the patriarchs, despite the fact that they continued to allow polygamy. Elsewhere he wrote: "It is in our time and in accordance with the Roman tradition that it is not permissible to take another wife to cohabit with more than one woman."

In the time of the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther said: "I recognize that if a man wishes to marry two or more women, we should not forbid him to do this, because it does not contradict the Holy Scripture." He advised Philip of Hesse to keep his second marriage in secret in order to avoid a public scandal. One of the great English poets and famous representative of the puritanical direction of Christianity (Church of England) John Milton (1608 - 1674) wrote: "I did not say" marriage of one man with one woman ", so as not to blame indirectly the holy patriarchs and pillars of our faith, Abraham and others who had more than one wife at a time, in ordinary sin. Otherwise, I would have had to exclude from the status of the righteous of God the whole of the offspring produced from them, truly, of all the sons of Israel, for whom holiness itself was created. As Deuteronomy says (xxiii.2): "The son of a harlot can not enter the company of the Lord even to the tenth generation". But the information dated February 14, 1650, when the parliament in Nuremberg established by its decree that because of the large losses among men who died during the Thirty Years' War, each man is allowed to take up to ten women in wives.

church banned polygamyAfrican churches have long recognized polygamy. At a conference in 1988 in Lambeth, they stated: "For a long time, the Anglican community recognized that polygamy in Africa, as well as traditional marriage, should equally be considered a manifestation of fidelity and justice." Kenya's Christian President Mwai Kibaki, whose victory was attributed to the "hand of God" by the Presbyterian Church of East Africa, had several wives. And having freed themselves from the control of white Christians, the post-apartheid South Africa also legalized the institution of polygamy. Gunmen Kill Two Israeli Cops Officers At Entry To Jerusalem Mosque Complex

We will move to the United States, where the "Church of Jesus Christ of Modern Saints" for a long time allowed polygamy for its followers. And after the Church banned polygamy, various groups of followers broke away from it in order to continue this practice. Polygamy among these groups persists to this day, especially in the state of Utah, in neighboring states, as well as in many breakaway communities and among its individual followers who do not belong to any church association.

In the United States, polygamy is illegal, but it exists informally. So, approximately 30 000 - 80 000 people live as polygamists in the West. Typically, these are Mormon families or individual Christian groups that continue to support polygamy as a time-honored and Bible-based practice.

Thus, when discussing the issue of polygamy in the modern world, it is necessary to have enough knowledge on this subject and its history before trying to blame Islam and Muslims for departing from the generally accepted rules. No one is allowed to condemn the practice that existed throughout the history of mankind, based only on modern prejudices and prejudices. On the contrary, it is necessary to try to study this object as best as possible, and, importantly, to strive to find the Divine guidance.

Islamreligion.com


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