Motherhood Bedrock of Marriage in Ancient Times, Says Louis Epstein
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Motherhood Bedrock of Marriage in Ancient Times, Says Louis Epstein

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Jewish marriage developed from mother rule in prehistoric tmes to father rule in more modern times Family life evolved from the corporative housenhold to the home, and marriage by convenant succeeded mariage by purchase, according to Dr. Louis Epstein, Speaing onther history of Jewish Marrigae throgh the ages at the Jewish marriage through the ages at the Jewis Theological Seminary.

There was a time when the woman headed the Jewish family, he explained She stayed in her own tribe and the man came as a strager and guest. The home was her’s the children her’s and the kinshiop was counted by her.

”In this type of marriage”, Dr. Epstein explained, ”the husband it not a kin, he is only an in-law, even to his own children . Therfore brothers of the same father by different mothers are not blood relations. For this reason a brother and a sister by one father who have different mothers can be married to each other.”

Eventually patronymic, or fater rule, succeded mother rule in the Jewish family, he continued. There was the change from the household to the home, ”from the family corpration to the family partnership” In ancient times, the family was a corprate unit, with no recognition of the individuality of its members governed by a head. He owned everything and evrybody in the household. He could slay or sell his children at will. Even the exual life of the family was party corporate, there being no difinitedly assigned wives.


”that corporate family broke down in the course of time”, Dr. Epstim said. The family as a political unit loosened. and the pastoral life was gradually modified. ”Because of these two factors, and because of the spiritual development of the seoplel, the individual gained a certain amount of independence, which permitted him to stand by himself as a unit even though be was a member of a family.”

The third chang was from purchase to covenant carriage. The purchase marriage, declared Dr. Epstein, was the natural result of conditions in antiquity. The ancients chase price for a virgin was called molar and varied in amount and kind. Seven years service was paid by Jacob; Hosea paid fifteen pieces of silver and a homer and a half of barly”, recalled Dr. Epstein. After payment, the wife become the property of her husband, like a slave.


Today, Dr. Epstein said, ”the Jewish marriage has gotten closer to the conception of convenat between to equal parties. The marriage ideal was always the copposite of the marriage form. Tenderness and romance and sanctity aere more characterstic of the relations between Jewish husbands and wives than are mastery and ownership. Monogamy has been the rule in Jewish homes throughout al the ages, despite the legality of polygamy. Divorce is rare.”


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